Ofcom Regulations: Is Your Business Protected?

In the UK, the telecommunications industry is regulated by Ofcom (the Office of Communications) and is responsible to ensure consumers and businesses get the best from their broadband, home phone and mobile services ...

They also keep an eye on TV and Radio as well as oversee the universal postal service, which means Royal Mail must deliver and collect letters six days a week, and parcels five days a week, at an affordable and uniform price throughout the UK.

"And they regulate the airwaves for wireless devices such as cordless home phones, walkie-talkies, car key fobs and even video doorbells!"

However, they do not regulate private telecommunications providers, who can sign up (voluntarily) to the Communications Ombudsman, which provides an alternative dispute resolution service.

Since the deregulation of the UK Telecommunications markets some 30 years ago, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of small, medium and large private companies that can provide everything from a standard broadband service to large IP telephony systems. And they have little incentive to provide any compensation in the event that a new installation or implementation of any new systems goes horribly wrong or does not perform the functions in the way that was sold to you by the (usually) non-technical salesperson.

"I have seen this over the years, time and time and time again!"

We are now entering a period when Openreach want to dismantle the traditional PSTN/ISDN network and basically steer the UK infrastructure to an all IP (Internet Protocol) platform. The traditional dial tone and numbering system is basically being switched off as of December 2025. The ordering of a single analogue PSTN phone line is being discontinued from the 1st of September 2023.

Your business, which may run on ISDN with an old PBX phone system, for example, Ascom, Astra, BT Nortel, Inter-Tel, Panasonic, Mitel, Samsung, Siemens Hi-Path or Toshiba will need to be replaced before December 2025 or they simply will not work. Those are Openreach's words, according to the industry paperwork.

Don't get wrapped up in the hype of 50 calls a day from telecom companies trying to scaremonger you into booking a sales appointment. Instead, find an independent consultant to help you and listen to their advice.

Ask the following questions:

- Where are the datacentre servers based?
- What is the resilience configuration of the phone system?
- If you have over twenty users, is there an option of paying on a concurrent call basis or is it still price-per-user-per-month, regardless?
- For Enterprise Customers, can you buy hardware/software and put it in a datacentre/virtual environment in the UK?

A word of caution ... and I mean this sincerely and through years of experience ... Microsoft Teams is not a telephone system and never will be! I can explain the difference next week as that is a blog post of its own.

Remember, getting it wrong can be financially damaging!

If you feel inspired to find out more then do call me on 07555 807700 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.