Telco Buzz

UK Telecoms Adopt Measures to Safeguard Vulnerable Households

LinkedIn Google+ Pinterest Tumblr

In response to reports detailing serious device failures during the transition from analogue to digital telephony, the UK’s Technology Secretary, Michelle Donellan, convened a meeting with telecom companies and regulator Ofcom. Following the discussions, phone providers, previously urged to pause any forceful transitions, have committed to a charter aimed at protecting vulnerable households, particularly those relying on personal alarms or telecare for remote support.

According to the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology, the move signifies a positive step by the industry to prioritize safety during the nationwide switchover. Despite the intended benefits of transitioning to digital telephony, some telecare users experienced device failures post-upgrade.

Donellan expressed optimism, stating that the agreed-upon measures would provide a “cast iron set of principles” to reassure users. The new commitments by telecom providers include conducting additional checks on forcibly migrated customers to identify any unknown telecare devices and ensuring suitable support. Additionally, no telecare user will transition without confirmation of a compatible and functioning telecare solution. Providers will also establish backup solutions exceeding Ofcom’s minimum requirement of one hour of emergency service access during power outages.

Furthermore, telecom companies will collaborate with Ofcom and the UK government to define ‘vulnerable people’ universally. Minister John Whittingdale emphasized the importance of ensuring that recent failings do not recur.

A recent parliamentary debate, initiated by Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Alastair Carmichael, highlighted concerns about the resilience of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions, particularly in adverse weather conditions and rural areas prone to power cuts. The debate emphasized the need for a mindful transition that considers end-users, not just industry interests.

While the shift from analogue to digital telephony is inevitable, the industry’s commitment to these measures reflects a recognition of the necessity to prioritize user safety throughout the transition.

Write A Comment