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emergency phone provision


Dave m
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a place I know has changed it's phone system to VOIP.

This means that there are no handsets in offices, they all rely on desktop PCs or personal hand held devices.

 

Previously the (Licensed) Theatre had at least one phone in the foyer available to anyone to ring 999.

This no longer works as it's been disabled/disconnected.

management's view is that Mobiles are everywhere.

 

Incidentally the building is close to a Faraday cage as there's so much steel in it that reception is crap.

 

They also have a separate licenced for entertainment venue on a different site

 

Don't the regs have something to say about this?

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VOIP phone systems can go down without warning and for long periods - I have personal experience of this through two family members - and that is without any sudden loss of power. I agree there should be a landline as back-up but you can't argue with some people. Wait till they've been without all phones for a morning then have a go...
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Don't quote me but I think this falls between Ofcom and Licensing Authority. VOIP fails the moment there is a power outage and for that Ofcom urges telephone service providers to; "have at least one solution available that enables access to emergency organisations for a minimum of one hour in the event of a power outage in the premises." That refers to the ability of telephone customers to contact the emergency services FoC.BT and other providers consider that this one hour back-up should be the responsibility of the business customer. (Note the date of just 2018, this is all new.)

 

However the attitude of a licensing authority to a licensee that has no means of emergency reporting in their operating schedule is almost certainly different and that of the insurer probably verges on the apoplectic.

 

It would also be interesting to learn what means of dialling 999 exists for police, fire etc when the premises are unattended. Surely they have fire and burglar alarms? These lines could be used for manual emergency calls.

 

You raise a very interesting point as more and more telephony gets streamed which is why my suspicion is that there are, as yet, no "regs" that stipulate specific solutions. As this is all tied up with the EU directive on Universal Service and that, like all the rest, is about to be scrapped I would keep an eye on this.

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A lot of burglar / fire alarms now use a cellular data connection for alarm reporting rather than a landline.

 

VOIP does not necessarily fail with power outage, if IP phones are powered over their ethernet connections then a strategically placed UPS to run the internet router and the PoE switch is all that's needed to keep it all going in a power fail. Of course this does require a certain amount of pre-planning.

Edited by timsabre
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VOIP does not necessarily fail with power outage, if IP phones are powered over their ethernet connections then a strategically placed UPS to run the internet router and the PoE switch is all that's needed to keep it all going in a power fail. Of course this does require a certain amount of pre-planning.

 

Also assumes your provider of choice has power resilience after the connection leaves your control.

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Yes, it's all very well providing your own UPS to keep *your* equipment alive for as long as you consider reasonable, this is no use if the standby battery in your comms provider's cabinet up the road fails after an hour. As far as comms providers are concerned, standby batteries in street cabinets and exchanges are an unreliable, expensive PITA and they'd really rather not have any in use anywhere at all...

 

Emergency lighting in any public building must be able to (and proven to) operate for at least 3 hours in the event of failure of the public electricity supply, for good established reasons. For the same reasons I feel strongly that the public communications infrastructure (mobile/cellular and fixed) should have the ability to function for the same length of time when power fails - even if it's just VOIP (and not general internet) to essential and emergency services.

Edited by pmiller056
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Yes, it's all very well providing your own UPS to keep *your* equipment alive for as long as you consider reasonable, this is no use if the standby battery in your comms provider's cabinet up the road fails after an hour. As far as comms providers are concerned, standby batteries in street cabinets and exchanges are an unreliable, expensive PITA and they'd really rather not have any in use anywhere at all...

 

Yes, that's true, we have fibre all the way from the premises to the exchange here rather than local cabinets and you would hope that that the exchange will keep running for a bit. But I think the telecoms in this area is quite unusual due to the single local provider KCOM.

Edited by timsabre
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One should keep in mind that, in the immediate aftermath of the London Tube bombings, the mobile phone network in London was shut down.

 

They switched the network to a priority access mode which supposedly only allowed emergency service users to connect, and apparently 999 calls could still be made. But many of the emergency services phones were not correctly configured so they couldn't connect either, so after a few hours they switched it back to normal.

I read this on t'internet so I don't know if it is true or not.

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I'm part of a nationwide Emergency Radio Comms group and the vast majority of our plans (at our group level) very specifically exclude any form of public network infrastructure. In other words we do all we can to be self sufficient.

 

We do have a very limited number of priority mobile phone services which can theoretically be transfered to any phone number as required. However the only time I've seen it in use there were so many priority users the service couldn't cope even when put into restricted mode.

 

 

Many Cell sites still have a surprising small capacity.

Edited by sunray
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My mother in law is in one of the 'trial' areas that is having PTSN dialling removed imminently. When I was trying to find out the implications of this, I visited the Ofcom website expecting to find some useful independent information and was suprised to find virtually nothing. I put in a complaint on this and am assured that they are working on improving thier information, but it's all a bit last minute!
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