Digital landline switch temporarily halted for vulnerable individuals


UK phone companies have temporarily halted the switch to digital landlines for vulnerable customers after incidents where telecare devices stopped working. Telecare equipment is used by nearly two million people to call for help in emergencies. Digital landlines can fail in certain situations, such as during a power cut. Phone providers have agreed to a charter that ensures customers will only be moved from an analogue to a digital line if it does not impact their telecare service. Telecoms companies and Ofcom have published information on the switch to digital landlines, but some customers have expressed concern. Following recent incidents, Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan met with telecoms firms, including Sky, BT, Virgin Media O2, and TalkTalk, and they have agreed to pause non-voluntary migrations to digital landlines until they can ensure the telecare service will continue to work. The companies have also committed to additional checks on customers who have already been switched and not changing users to a digital landline without confirmation of a compatible telecare solution. Phone providers have requested local authorities and telecare firms to share data on telecare device users and for all telecare firms to test their devices for compatibility with the switch to digital. BT has taken steps to protect telecare users during power outages by providing battery back-up units and hybrid phones that can switch to a mobile network. Virgin Media has expressed its willingness to work with local authorities and telecare providers to support vulnerable customers. TalkTalk uses a different system that requires few customers to be switched.

You may also like...