December 2019

In 2017, BT announced their intention to move all voice communications to IP, a move that will have implications on the alarm and telecare industries.

Similar to when the UK switched to digital TV a few years ago, we’re now looking at the same kind of switch for telephony services to an all IP network. But this means many existing alarm or telecare devices may not work as they have done in the past.

Whilst 2025 is the proposed end target, digital services will likely start to roll out soon and consequently signalling systems could be affected before the 2025 date.

How can the industry, especially Alarm Receiving Centres (ARCs) help ensure their users aren’t left without service?

BT Consumer is asking ARCs to provide their incoming telephone numbers (the number the alarm / telecare device dials). They can use this number to see who has a special service on their line and make sure no one is left vulnerable or without service from the switchover.

  • BT will look for these numbers in their calls records to identify the customers who have dialled them in the last 12 months and will put a marker in their account. (It’s reasonable to assume that any calls to this number would be from a device of some sort)
  • They won’t note the supplier, type of service or make/model of any special services device on those customers’ lines, just the fact that it’s likely there’s a special services device on that line
  • It will allow BT to take extra care with those customers at the time of upgrading them onto digital voice services
  • No numbers or customer information will be shared with anybody else and BT Consumer will put in place a Non-Disclosure Agreement if required

You can provide your incoming telephone numbers or request further information from BT by email at: btdigitalvoice@bt.com. With Openreach trials planned for Salisbury and Mildenhall next year it’s really important all ARCs provide numbers as soon as possible.

Phil Cain | Digital Voice Industry Engagement | BT Consumer