The Digital Switchover of Landlines: Protecting Vulnerable Customers and Ensuring Fair Treatment during the Transition

Investigation launched into Virgin Media over digital switchover regulations

The ongoing digital switchover of landline services has raised concerns about its potential impacts on vulnerable customers. This transition, from analogue to digital, has led to fears that telecare systems that utilize landlines could become vulnerable to power outages or internet drop-outs.

Ofcom is currently investigating Virgin Media for potential non-compliance with rules aimed at protecting vulnerable customers during the transition. The concern stems from the fear that the switch from traditional copper phone lines to digital lines could render telecare systems vulnerable.

Virgin Media has stated that it is working closely with both Ofcom and the government, but also emphasized the need for other parties, such as telecare companies and local authorities, to take responsibility for ensuring that everyone receives the necessary support during the transition.

Ofcom’s investigation into Virgin Media’s compliance primarily focuses on two areas: ensuring uninterrupted access to emergency services for customers and the fair treatment of vulnerable customers. This comes after a series of “serious incidents” involving the failure of personal telecare alarms prompted telecoms firms to pause the transition to the new digital phone network in December.

Further information regarding the progress of the investigation will be published by the regulator in due course.

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