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Author Topic: Protecting Access to Emergency Services in a Broadband VoIP World  (Read 768 times)


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  • Kitizen
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Operators like KCOM and BT are preparing to move away from traditional analogue telephone networks (PSTN) and replace them with broadband based all IP solutions. As part of that Ofcom are consulting on maintaining access to UK emergency services (police etc.), which could be more exposed to power cuts etc.

The regulator’s existing General Condition 3.1 (GC3.1) rule requires every communications provider to “take all necessary measures to maintain, to the greatest extent possible, the proper and effective functioning of its network at all times … and uninterrupted access to emergency organisations for their end-users.”

In keeping with that one often overlooked advantage of the existing copper telephone network is that they’re powered via the network (e.g. exchange) rather than your home or office, which for example means that you should still be able to make a phone call during a power cut. This assumes that you have an analogue phone to plug-in, since DECT phones don’t always work in a power cut (even when fully charged).

Unfortunately future broadband-based call services will not work in a power cut at all, without additional measures, and as a result Ofcom has proposed to update their existing guidance for telecoms operators. This will be based around the following four “principles“.

    Ofcom’s Proposed Principles for Broadband Calling

    1. Communication Providers (CP) should have at least one solution available that enables access to emergency organisations for a minimum of one hour in the event of a power outage in the premises;

    2. The solution should be suitable for customers’ needs and should be offered free of charge to those who are at risk as they are dependent on their landline;

    3. CPs should i) take steps to identify at risk customers and ii) engage in effective communications to ensure all customers understand the risk and eligibility criteria and can request the protection solution; and

    4. CPs should have a process to ensure that customers who move to a new house or whose circumstances change in some other way are aware of the risk and protection solution available.

I wonder if a modem or modem/router in the future will ever have a basic ups built-in?
BT Infinity 2 - Smart Hub 6 - ECI Cab


  • Kitizen
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Re: Protecting Access to Emergency Services in a Broadband VoIP World
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2018, 05:51:14 PM »

The OpenReach FTTP ONT comes with a BBU (battery back up) as standard, for this very reason.
The original OpenReach FTTC modem the Huawei HG612 ando had a BBU port, though the BBU was never supplied.

What happens to old Mrs Smith who's using her 1983 corded landline phone? Are they going to fit an ATA in every home?


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Re: Protecting Access to Emergency Services in a Broadband VoIP World
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2018, 05:19:18 AM »

For Mrs Nic A’ Ghobhainn they need to have one hell of a lot more than one hour's backup time. Two days would be more like it, seriously. That’s how long the power was out in Jan 2005 in some parts, less where I am.

It is incredibly bad that whenever we lose everything in a thunderstorm or a big power cut, the 4G+3G base station across the valley goes down too. You would think they ought to be required to have both a UPS and a diesel generator for base stations, since they are vital to householders motorists in accidents, seafarers round here. My wife drove off the road and ended up parked in some trees, thank goodness she had some signal and managed to crawl out of the car.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2018, 05:21:56 AM by Weaver »