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Urgent – Virgin exchange closures – impact on ARC platforms



27 June 2023



Earlier this year Virgin announced a programme of analogue telephone exchange closures and communicated this with their residential and business customers. This programme of closures was timetabled to be completed by mid 2025 and sits separately to the Openreach analogue product withdrawal and exchange closure programme. Whilst the impact of the Virgin telephone exchange closure programme is reasonably well understood for customers in their own homes, the understanding of the impact on business customers, specifically Alarm Receiving Centres has been less well understood.

When any telephone exchange closes, all services connected to that exchange are ceased and this includes all analogue lines to Virgin Media residential and business customers in that area – the particular impact on Alarm Receiving Centres are the Business exchange lines and the Business ISDN30 lines. Many ARCs in the UK currently rely on PSTN and ISDN products to deliver alarm calls to the call centres whilst some centres have moved onto the next generation technology – SIP. The move to SIP has not been without its challenges in terms of increasing the rate of alarm call failure but it is a necessary step to ensure the safety of life critical services.

The replacement digital Business product for these analogue lines are SIP trunks but not all Alarm Receiving Centres have a platform that is configured to accept SIP trunks – the TSA is now requesting that all remaining ARC platforms without SIP capability are configured to receiving alarms calls via SIP, even if that is alongside ISDN30 until all ISDN30 services are withdrawn.

T​his spreadsheet shows the initial closure timescales from around the UK

The detail including full affected postcodes of the Virgin exchange closure can be found on the following link


Next Steps

The TSA calls on all Commissioners, Service Providers and Suppliers to identify where they are still reliant on Business PSTN and ISDN services to deliver life critical calls to an Alarm Receiving Centre or Data Centre and take immediate steps to test and implement SIP technology into their infrastructure in order to ensure, as a minimum, SIP and PSTN/ISDN technology runs concurrently to mitigate against the risk of early exchange closure.

For those who have already been served a 90-day closure notice by Virgin:

  • The national deadline for new orders of ISDN30 through Virgin Media’s main competitor, Openreach, is the 5th September 2023
  • These products are not available in every exchange
  • The cost of this outdated technology can be prohibitively high
  • New contract terms will need to be entered into
  • If your current ARC supplier is unable to provide SIP interface connectivity within the deadline then we suggest looking for an alternative ARC supplier that uses SIP either in conjunction with or instead of ISDN


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