Telemedicine: Voice over Internet Protocol

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology written question – answered at on 9 May 2024.

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Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Conservative, Totnes

To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, pursuant to the Answer of 22 April 2024 to Question 21381 on Telemedicine: Older People, whether her Department undertook an economic impact assessment of Public Switched Telephone Network migration.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

Ofcom and DSIT have not conducted an economic impact assessment for the transition to digital landline services. The decision to make this transition was made by telecoms companies, not the Government.

The UK’s telecoms regulator released its positioning statement in 2019 which reviewed various regulatory considerations. Ofcom is responsible for the monitoring process of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) migration. Ofcom in its statement captured issues related to consumer impact, downstream service providers, and the wider impact on the future of fixed telephone services. Ofcom and DSIT recognise the necessity in upgrading the PSTN. The network is increasingly unreliable and prone to failure; therefore, it is imperative for the PSTN to undergo the necessary upgrades to keep pace with modern-use of telecommunications services.

While this is an industry-led process, Ofcom and Government are working together to monitor how Communication Providers approach the migration, with the protection of vulnerable customers being the top priority.

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