Access to phones is a must, safe secure phones, don't let the government fail people, sign

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In 2020 the BT PSTN network will become legacy and be switched off in 2025, the current solution is for phone services to run over broadband (VoIP)

Currently, the BT PSTN network can theoretically work indefinitely during a power outage. What this change means is that phone services will only be required to work for 1 hour in the event of a power outage.

The people most impacted by this are

1. Vulnerable Individuals

2. People who do not have sufficient access to technology

3. People who have fallen behind with technology

4. People who are impacted by a wide area power cut (recent examples are Lancaster Floods, Themes Floods)

5. People who do not have access to alternative technology or cannot afford alternative technology (like mobile services)

This isn't just 999 calls, but any call during an outage, elderly people calling 105 for power cut information, no power, no heat, no phone,no help. At a time when older people can feel most vulnerable and isolated, their phones will not work.

Alarm systems, medical devices, panic buttons, diallers, these generally benefit from the resilience offered by PSTN and continuity this service offers during a power outage.

The guidance in question from Ofcom is

"Protecting access to emergency organisations when there is a power cut at the customer’s premises"

The current approach and guidance laid out by Ofcom has significant flaws, they are following their usual approach where the only consequence to bad decisions is monetary, however, in this scenario the consequence to this change being handled badly can be injury, reduced quality of life or death i.e. unable to contact emergency services when it is needed most.

The rationale currently being used by Ofcom has no supporting evidence or does not relate to the scenario in question. For example,

"1 hour is sufficient to call the emergency services in a power outage" does not have any supporting evidence

"Most emergency calls are made from mobile phones" does not relate to statistics in the scenario in question i.e. a power outage.

Another statement "Mobile services will work in a power cut" does not have any supporting evidence, as these are only required to operate for 1 hour in a power cut, and you can only call emergency services from a mobile if there is a local mast that has power available (the requirement is that they have a 1 hour battery)

The current solutions do not consider that in order for VoIP services to work going forward, and in relation to the Fibre upgrade for broadband, power is required not only at the physical residential property for the router and analogue gateway, but also at the local street cabinet and the local exchange. This means that for vulnerable individuals there is no way to guarantee or even implement a service that would likely work for longer than 1 hour or at all if the local cabinet loses power along with the premises.

Further to this, there has been no specific or detailed questions set or requirements for service providers from Ofcom concerning

1. Questions to ask and methods to identify vulnerable individuals

2. What is defined as a suitable solution for a vulnerable individual

It is currently down to the providers to determine what and who is a vulnerable individual, this alone is cause for concern even if there were not concerns with the technology.

In addition, to the vast majority of consumers, there is no added benefit in having a VoIP residential landline to gain additional access to emergency services or as contingency or to reduce rental costs and call charges, there are solutions where you can connect your mobile telephone to make phone calls over the broadband, so even outside of a power cut scenario, there is no benefit to the current VoIP residential solution for any consumer relating to cost and accessibility. This point alone means that Ofcom have failed in their duties for ensuring that consumers are provided with a suitable service in relation to cost and accessibility.

Further more, we will see a form of Cyber Crime that has traditionally been difficult to profit from become more affluent with this change, specifically, the ability to listen into phone calls (link provided below for further information).

We NEED our MPs to interject, specifically the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jon Wright MP as well as the Shadow Secretary equivalent Tom Watson MP.

This isn't a personal issue to me, it isn't a personal issue to you, it is an issue that will impact everyone.

These links explain the issue in more detail along with what technology solutions could be put in place that would actually provide a continuous service

https://thrace-enterprises.com/home/telecoms-information-service/residential-information/pstn-switch-off-and-what-it-means-to-you/

https://thrace-enterprises.com/home/telecoms-information-service/residential-information/

Cyber crime issue

https://thrace-enterprises.com/home/it-and-security-for-consumers/cyber-crime-hot-to/how-i-would-listen-to-your-phone-calls/

Where these links go

This goes to my company website, however, I do not offer services (other than free ones) to residential consumers, this is not advertising.

1. There are no cookies on the website

2. There is no advertising on the website.

As far as a residential consumer is concerned, this is 100% free and I make no money by you going to this website. This is just an easy place for me to put additional information for this petition.

 


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