Following last week’s update, here is some additional information from Ofcom regarding concerns raised about making emergency calls during a power cut once copper telephone lines are removed:
Access to emergency services in a power cut
Any provider of a voice communications service must make sure that customers have uninterrupted access to emergency organisations.
For more detail, see General Condition A3.2(b).
Ofcom has published guidance on how we expect providers to meet this requirement when there is a power cut. The guidance has four main principles, namely that providers should:
- take steps to communicate effectively with customers;
- identify customers’ needs;
- have a solution in place to enable access to the emergency organisations for at least one hour; and
- have a process to make sure customers who move to a new house or whose circumstances change in some other way, are aware of the risk and protection solution available.
Providers should offer this solution free-of-charge to customers who depend on their landline to call emergency services during a power cut.
Read our guidance on protecting access to emergency organisations when there is a power cut at the customer’s premises.
Moving to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Landline phone calls have traditionally been delivered over a network known as the public switched telephone network (PSTN). This network is old, and becoming harder and more expensive to maintain, so it needs to be replaced. At the same time, the broadband network is being upgraded, notably with fibre-to-the-premises, which does not support traditional telephone services. This means that in future, landline calls will be delivered over digital technology, called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or sometimes ‘digital phone’ or ‘digital voice’.
While the transition will be straightforward for most customers, some customers might require additional support, for instance if they use telecare devices, or rely on their landlines to make emergency calls.
Providers are already required to treat vulnerable consumers fairly (see above), and to enable access to emergency services (see below). This applies during the migration to VoIP.
We have also set out specific expectations of providers to support their customers during the migration to VoIP. In particular, we expect providers to give adequate notice of changes, to make sure communications on the migration are clear, timely and in a format that reflects the needs of the customer, and to assess customers’ needs and offer help where required.
Above is the extract – however you can see the full article here.
As usual, any questions about the Full Fibre upgrade? Please get in touch with: