July 18, 2022
Ofcom has opened a new monitoring programme to determine whether telecoms providers are complying with rules designed to ensure that people can always contact the emergency services.
The UK’s telecoms networks are undergoing substantial change, as landline customers move from the country’s traditional telephone network, the “public switched telephone network” (PSTN), to newer digital technology, “Voice over Internet Protocol” (VoIP), which carries calls over a broadband connection.
Calls made over broadband using VoIP-based technology will not function in a power cut unless additional solutions are in place, as the broadband equipment at the premises requires mains power to work. Ofcom rules state that providers must still offer a way for landline-dependent customers to contact the emergency services, and they should take steps to identify who these customers are and offer them a suitable solution. Ofcom has also provided guidance to industry on how it can ensure uninterrupted access to emergency organisations during a power outage for customers using digital voice technology.
In the first stage of the monitoring programme, Ofcom will gather information from a range of alternative network providers and VoIP providers to help it understand what they are doing to ensure that they comply with their obligations. Ofcom will also be engaging with industry to ensure that providers understand their obligations and how they apply to businesses providing Fibre to the Premises services. To access the new monitoring programme, click here.