Virgin Media under investigation for potential violations of digital switchover regulations


Ofcom is currently investigating Virgin Media’s compliance with regulations aimed at protecting vulnerable customers during the digital switchover. The telecoms industry is transitioning from analogue to digital landline services, and Ofcom has concerns about how this change could impact certain individuals, such as those who rely on telecare systems that use landlines. Virgin Media stated that it is working closely with Ofcom and the government, but emphasized that other parties, including telecare companies and local authorities, must also take responsibility. Telecare systems typically have an emergency button that automatically calls emergency services when pressed via a user’s landline. Currently, these systems continue to work during power cuts because traditional copper phone lines are unaffected by electricity loss. However, there are concerns that this may change when telecare services switch to digital lines, which could be vulnerable to power outages or internet drop-outs. Ofcom’s investigation into Virgin Media focuses on two areas: ensuring uninterrupted access for customers to emergency organizations and fair treatment of vulnerable customers. In December, telecoms firms agreed to pause the transition to the new digital phone network following several incidents involving the failure of personal telecare alarms. Ofcom stated that it has made it clear to telecoms firms that they must identify and support vulnerable individuals. The regulator will provide further updates on the investigation’s progress in the future.

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