Seven operators sign protections for vulnerable customers

Seven network operators have agreed to new measures to protect vulnerable customers as their landlines are upgraded to a new digital network.

Openreach, CityFibre and Sky are amongst those who have agreed to the new measures, joining UK phone providers who signed up last year.

These measures will ensure that those who rely on personal alarms to call for help (nearly two million people) are not left without a working device during the migration.

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “I welcome more telecoms companies joining forces to make this a priority, meaning we now have agreement from those responsible for our telecoms infrastructure and those providing mobile and broadband services.”

Signatories are committing to work with partners, including internet providers, to check if their customers own a telecare device. They must provide at least 12 months’ notice to phone providers before enforcing the switchover of a customer and will jointly discuss suitable migration options.

This will ensure that no telecare user will be migrated to a digital landline service without the provider, customer or telephone company confirming that they have functioning solution in place.

Operators will work with Ofcom, Government, and phone providers to create a shared definition of ‘vulnerable’ customer.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “The recent incidents that left some people disconnected are unacceptable and must not happen again. The Technology Secretary and I are united in pressuring all those responsible to implement mitigations that meet the needs of the most at risk.”

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