Telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced new guidance to ensure that consumers who use broadband-based phone services can still access emergency services in the event of a power cut.
Among the key principles of the guidance are provisions requiring providers to take steps to identify customers who depend on their landline for communication and offer them a suitable solution, free of charge.
Existing rules set out by Ofcom already mandate that providers take all necessary measures to ensure their customers can call the emergency services in the event of a power outage.
The use of traditional corded telephones has long been a solution for this, as these devices can still be used to make calls when there is a power cut at the premises, as the lines are powered from the local telephone exchange.
However, as more consumers move to broadband-based voice over IP (VoIP) call technology in the coming years, companies will need to put additional protections in place to ensure these customers can reach the emergency services in a power cut, as these require mains power to work, so will not be accessible in the event of an outage.
"All landline customers that do not have an alternative means of contacting emergency organisations in a power outage at the home should be offered a solution that allows them to do so," Ofcom stated in its guidance.
It added this will require providers to communicate effectively with their customers and ensure VoIP users understand the issue and what can be done to resolve it.