On 8th September OFCOM delivered their modified approach to regulating access to the emergency services from Voice over Internet Protocol services (VoIP services).
Following on from a consultation period they identified a high level of consumer confusion about access to the emergency services from VoIP services. That confusion ultimately means there is a risk of someone trying to make an emergency call from a service that does not provide access therefore wasting valuable seconds in times of distress. Although most users can reach for another phone to make emergency calls, we recognise that a small delay can result in increased risk of harm. Given this risk, and the recent rapid growth in the use of VoIP services, we’ve made some enhancements under the guidance of OFCOM to ensure that our service is compliant with OFCOMs guidelines and provides you with a safe VoIP service. The statement becomes more important as we move to Next Generation Networks where VoIP is set to play a pivatol part in the replacement of traditional voice services.
So, heres a quick overview of the changes they made last month which we think you should know about:
– You can now make calls to the Emergency services (999 & 112)
– They’ve made some provisions for the delivery of location informaton on silent calls – when they create your Broadband Phone account they automatically submit your broadband fixed line location to a National Location information database which allows the Emergency Services to access your location information when you make a call to the Emergency Services (you can only have Broadband Phone if you have an active Plusnet broadband account), important for instances where you may not be able to provide the details yourself. You’ll notice that there is an area within the Broadband Phone control panel labelled ‘Emergency Contact Details’ which allows you to change this default address and add a number of other locations, which you can switch between should you be using your Broadband Phone from multiple locations. Its important to note that we do not keep track of the locations you make calls from – its up to you to keep your location information up to date, especially when you move house.
You can find the feature on your VoIP admin pages
There’s a detailed PDF document which explains the OFCOM statement in full on the consultation pages of OFCOMs website – it is rather heavyweight so I’d use the search function to find the area your looking for.
Their help & Support pages now have an updated Broadband Phone FAQ which lets you know how you can take advantage of the services offered to those with special requirements. For instance, you can find out how to get a text copy of your voicemail messages and get clear print bills/call records.
For the administration fee of £5 (inc-vat one off fee) you can select any PSTN number (01, 02 and 08 numbers only) as your outbound number. This wont affect your existing 01/02 number and you’ll simply retain all your existing numbers.
For the full article and more click Plusnet