BT and Virgin Media envisages that all Telecare service providers will cease buying analogue equipment in the near future, and they will move to more capable solutions that are designed to communicate digitally. Telecare service and system providers now have access BT’s Digital Services Lab at their R&D centre to test both their existing systems and any new ‘all IP’ systems.
By ensuring that those who rely on their current analogue telecare devices move to the new digital phone service in a controlled way, to ensure that Telecare services are always able to perform their critical role.
A logical first step is to understand which customers have telecare services and to request that telecare services provide information to help to manage the migration, namely:
The telecoms companies will then be able to use this information confidentially, to mark consumer customer accounts to show that they may have a Special Service, such as Telecare, and to make sure that these customers are then advised to contact their alarm service provider before making a change.
We should emphasise two issues here:
It is also worth noting that BT has advised that they would, as an interim solution, provide an Analogue Telephony Adapter (ATA) port with their new home hub, which could help to keep some current products working until they can upgraded or replaced. It should be stressed however that consumer broadband hubs provide no battery back-up, therefore phone connectivity will be prevented when home power fails. Any voiceband alarm data exchange could also be affected by the new IP-networks, and so would at least require further testing. Therefore, your alarm systems suppliers should be consulted on how their solutions would continue to operate reliably in this situation.
We at the TSA see these as very supportive steps from BT and Virgin, and we recognise their desire for telecare service providers to identify or develop new digital solutions for their customers, whilst providing additional time for the necessary transition. We continue to work with Ofcom and other telecommunications providers to secure similar supportive measures across the industry.
If you are happy to provide the information requested, or if you have any queries on these issues please contact the TSA: