Government Affairs

Ofcom opens monitoring programme to check 999 access rules are being followed

July 11, 2022
Ofcom opens monitoring programme to check 999 access rules are being followed

Ofcom has today opened a new monitoring programme to determine whether telecoms providers are complying with important rules designed to ensure that people can contact the emergency services at all times.

The UK’s telecoms networks are undergoing substantial change in the coming years, as landline customers move from the country’s traditional telephone network – the ‘public switched telephone network’ (PSTN) – to newer digital technology known as ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ (VoIP), which carries calls over a broadband connection.

Although this change is being led by the broadband and phone companies, a number of organisations, including Ofcom, have a role to play in making sure customers experience minimal disruption and are protected from harm.

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 premise 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.  We also provided guidance to industry on how they can ensure uninterrupted access to emergency organisations during a power outage for customers using digital voice technology.

In the first stage of our monitoring programme, Ofcom will gather information from a range of alternative network providers and VoIP providers. This will help us understand what they are doing to ensure that they comply with their obligations. We 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.

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