Telephones: Care Homes

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 24th March 2022.

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Photo of Dehenna Davison Dehenna Davison Conservative, Bishop Auckland

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether providers will be prohibited from charging those in adult social care settings extra charges for powercut-resistant telephones after the end of the analogue network.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

Ofcom has issued guidance on how telecoms companies can fulfil their regulatory obligation to ensure that their customers, including those in social care settings, have access to the emergency services in the event of a power cut following the transition from analogue to digital telephony. This guidance states that providers 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, and that 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.

Ofcom’s power resilience guidance does not distinguish between types of user, however they have issued additional guidance which states that providers should take steps to identify vulnerable consumers and engage in effective communications to ensure all are protected in the migration process.

Although migration is an industry led initiative, the government is clear that the PSTN migration should not be used as an opportunity for providers to raise their prices or otherwise exploit vulnerable consumers with disproportionate costs for the necessary upgrades.

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