Virgin Media is currently under investigation by Ofcom for its compliance with rules designed to safeguard vulnerable customers during the digital switchover. The transition from analogue to digital landline services has raised concerns about how this change could impact certain individuals, particularly those who rely on telecare systems that use landlines.
The investigation by Ofcom will focus on two main areas: ensuring that customers have uninterrupted access to emergency services and treating vulnerable customers fairly. In response to a number of “serious incidents” involving the failure of personal telecare alarms, telecoms firms agreed in December to pause the process of moving customers onto the new digital phone network.
Ofcom has been clear with telecoms firms about the importance of identifying and supporting vulnerable individuals. The regulator emphasized the significance of the telephone network in allowing people, especially those who are vulnerable, to contact emergency services. The investigation by Ofcom will continue, and further information on its progress will be published in the future.
Virgin Media stated that it is working closely with Ofcom and the government in this matter. However, they also emphasized that other parties, such as telecare companies and local authorities, must take responsibility to ensure that everyone receives the necessary support during this transition period. These telecare systems often function by having an emergency button that automatically calls for help when pressed through a user’s landline. Currently, these systems continue to work during power outages due to the reliability of traditional copper phone lines, but there are concerns about potential vulnerabilities when these services are switched to digital lines.