Short Story Version
Long Story Version
My mother has dementia and her health is in decline. She was with the post office for landline (no broadband, she makes about 3 phone calls a week, we phone her in the most part and it's mostly for emergencies) and has had the same phone number since phone numbers were invented issued by BT way back when. I manage everything for her so the phone account is in my name. Due to her health she has moved into a new build sheltered house which has FTTP. I really wish it had copper but I guess they were future proofing it when they built them.
We phoned other suppliers but nope - BT was the only option for getting a phone line in to this FTTP. We were told we couldn't port her old number to a FTTP at that time, but to get set up with a temporary number and then when we cancel the old post office account that number would go back to BT and they could do a port back for us. Great. We heard nothing. On the day it was supposed to go live we phoned BT. My name was on their system but no order was created. We redid the order and were told again the same information about getting our number back. We got going with this temporary number and yesterday our old number was ceased. (As an aside, they wanted us to pay £22 a month, but after much haggling it was revealed they do landline line rental only for £12 a month and you can just PAYG - exactly what we want.)
We phoned today to do the number port back. We got through to someone, who put us through to someone else, who put us through to someone else, who put us through to yet another person, who tried to put us through to another person but when they did it, the line went dead and we had to start again. It's a good job it wasn't a phone company I was calling......
We phoned again and got through to someone at the FTTP department. We explained the situation and she wasn't very understanding or helpful but told us this was impossible. I explained I thought I read that OFCOM had ruled on this and number porting had to be possible but she was very abrupt. Given all the problems I asked to make a complaint but she nonchalantly told me that she could take it down but it would just be getting closed again. We kept talking over each other because I didn't feel she understood the situation, I actually felt the conversation was quite confrontational and so I asked to speak to a manager. She put me on hold for 4.5 minutes (deliberate?) and I spoke to a manager who was much more understanding and apologised for the wrong information I had been given.
Is what i've been told correct, is her number lost? I feel sorry for the person who get's it recycled to them. They never even asked what the old number was so I just don't trust what was thrust at me. If this is true - surely in this day and age the most vulnerable in society should be able to keep their number when they move into a sheltered house? She certainly isn't able to phone all the companies to change her landline number herself and providing evidence of my Power of Attorney to every company... well I don't even know where to begin!
Any advice is very much appreciated!
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If the property is FTTP only , you do have a choice of providers apart from BT , but most of these alternatives charge more than BT, internet access rather than telephony is their main business and they certainly don’t have to offer a telephony only reduced line rental , the only company that has to do this is BT.
Although the new property and old property could be in the same exchange area , the FTTP infrastructure isn’t necessarily anything to do with that particular exchange , so it’s likely that it isn’t technically possible to provide the number you want ( even if the Post Office , when you cancelled service with them at the old address, have in effect returned the number to the number range holder namely BT, that becomes part of the legacy POTS ( plain old telephony service ) publicly switched telephone network ( PSTN) , and in effect the move of address may as well have been to a different exchange area.
Ofcom may well be looking at the whole number portability issue , and at some point insist on what you want is made available, but the industry isn’t at that point , some providers just say ‘no’ to number ports, when customers migrate to different providers, even when the address isn’t changing.
Because the last time BT delivered that number , the address was different to the address you now require it at, it’s not just BT, any provider wouldn’t guarantee being able to provide it, just make best efforts to do so.
It may not be the answer you want, but if the accommodation was in a different exchange area, but was the most suitable place for your mothers needs , then you would have to accept a new number anyway.