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Message 1 of 9

Digital Voice and Broadband failure in emergencies

I live in an apartment building.  I've just been advised that I'll shortly be switched over to BT Digital Voice.  The BT communication points our that in the event of a Broadband failure the phone will go down, so I should make sure I have an alternative way of calling 999.  Unfortunately the building and its immediate surroundings are a mobile "dead zone" for all providers, and I (and my neighbours) rely on WiFi calling if our landlines are down (we can't even get smart meters fitted for our electricity supplies because they use the mobile network to communicate with the provider and there's no signal).  Does BT have a solution to this?

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Message 2 of 9

Re: Digital Voice and Broadband failure in emergencies

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Message 3 of 9

Re: Digital Voice and Broadband failure in emergencies

Hi @globe1nh 

For me it's more a question of probability. I've had DV for two years and I also rely on wifi calling. In that time my broadband hasn't gone down and I've had one power failure lasting about 10 minutes.

I don't have a battery backup as based upon my experience, it's extremely unlikely that my service will be offline, and it's even less likely that in the event of any failure I would need to make a 999 call. 

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Message 4 of 9

Re: Digital Voice and Broadband failure in emergencies

I already have a UPS on the hub, but that won't help if the broadband feed is down...

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Message 5 of 9

Re: Digital Voice and Broadband failure in emergencies



I wouldn't disagree with that, but if BT feel it necessary to make the point in their communications then I'd like them to respond to the question...

Message 6 of 9

Re: Digital Voice and Broadband failure in emergencies

As this is a BT Customer forum, the majority of posts are from BT Customers, not ‘BT’, this switch to telephony via broadband is a consequence of the move towards a completely ‘fibre’ future , if you think a copper pair based network and the PSTN behind it , should also be maintained alongside for those that feel that a phone should be ‘powered’ from the exchange rather than locally, ( but paid for by those that don’t care if it exists once FTTP is provided ) , then you are out of luck, the regulator has already accepted the fact that telephony becomes dependent on a local power supply , the same as broadband  ( it would be odd if they didn’t , as they are one of many organisations pushing for the quicker roll out of FTTP )

If you worried as an individual,  then the solution has been indicated , a local battery back up,  if you are worried that there may be some that this is beyond their  means , then , if able to prove hardship ( presumably by being on qualifying benefit and a BT social tariff ) then ( AFAIK ) one may be supplied for free or subsidised , so IMHO it’s a non issue, if someone lives in an area where power cuts are a regular occurrence, then it’s the local power company that should be addressing that.

As far as a response from BT, if you are currently on a BT social tariff you could call and enquire , if you are not , then it’s entirely your choice to either not bother with a battery back up ( the choice that no doubt more than 99% of BT customers will make ) or purchase one yourself .

Message 7 of 9

Re: Digital Voice and Broadband failure in emergencies


If you read my posts you will see that my question was referring to loss of broadband service, not a failure of the hub or a power outage - I already have a UPS on my hub (and on my Mac).  BT advises that if a mobile phone is not an option then to call them, and I was curious as to what their recommended option was.  Unfortunately I get no responses to email enquiries, and when I try to call the number provided I get an automated message asking for an alternative number for a call-back; the call-back then patches me through to the same number (their general enquiries number) with a typical wait time of 40 minutes, so I thought I'd ask the community.

And for your information I'm not worried, I'm not a "hardship" case, I was just interested in finding out what BT's suggestions were given that they raised the issue in their literature, not me.


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Message 8 of 9

Re: Digital Voice and Broadband failure in emergencies

Most ‘complaints’ about  DV  are that it’s dependent on the consumer’s own power supply, hence the incorrect assumption on my part, that your issue  was related to this, after all a power cut is more likely to affect many customers over a large area, and be considered by both the ISP and Ofcom.

If you had significant cable pair fault on the current legacy PSTN  ( public switch telephone network) then it’s entirely probable that telephony would be lost  , in that respect someone in your position would be no worse off  on DV , a chance that service will be unavailable.

There is no reason why a VOIP service is more likely to fail than POTS ( plain old telephony service ) and because there is no mitigation against a copper pair failure, then why would there be any mitigation mandated just because the telephony is now VOIP ?, any individual could suffer an individual loss of service on POTS or VOIP, that would be unfortunate for the individual.

Any individual line in the grand scheme  isn’t particularly important, the provider that supply’s  service over it will no doubt have some compensation scheme if it’s out of order , a catastrophic failure ( like a ‘FTTC’ cab being destroyed by a road traffic accident ) could well knock out services that rely on it, but a copper pair cabinet could also suffer in the same way , so it’s really of no relevance that if broadband goes off  and telephony also goes off with it.

BT probably mention this , more to alert users to the difference, after all some consumers turn off the router when it’s not in use, they may not realise that would affect telephony, and at the moment in a power cut the phone will continue to work , but obviously without a UPS won’t, hence the advice that a mobile may be useful in these cases, but obviously not for those without a mobile signal, and without seeming flippant , if someone on DV without a mobile , or has a mobile but no mobile signal , and is sufficient worried during a broadband outage that being unable to use the phone is unacceptable, then the advice would be to move to somewhere that has a mobile signal.

BT don’t have any duty to ensure that in all circumstances you can make a phone call

Message 9 of 9

Re: Digital Voice and Broadband failure in emergencies


As I said, I was just trying to find out what BT's suggested alternative was given that they indicated there was one.  My UPSs are there so that my Mac and NAS can shut down safely in the event of a power outage, and to keep the Hub running.  The main UPS gives me about 30 minutes of up-time on the Mac and NAS, leaving about 10 minutes for an automated controlled save and shut-down, and the Hub UPS gives around 45 minutes of up-time for broadband use (including DV once I've got it), plus of course it keeps WiFi up for mobile use.  The main problem in the area I live in (apart from lousy cellphone service) is short power outages so generally I can just keep working through them.  Broadband outages are rare, so overall reliability will if anything be better, and I'd guess that the DV audio will be an improvement; out landline can be pretty scratchy.

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