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Ofcom Probes Three UK Over Network Availability Blip

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 (1:15 pm) - Score 946

Mobile operator Three UK is being investigated by Ofcom after the operator voluntarily notified the UK telecoms regulator about a “temporary reduction in the availability of its network“, which may have hindered the ability of some customers to contact the Emergency Services (police, fire, ambulance etc.).

At present Ofcom’s General Condition 3.1 (GC3.1) requires every communications provider to “take all necessary measures to maintain, to the greatest extent possible, the proper and effective functioning of its network at all times … and uninterrupted access to emergency organisations for their end-users“. This is supported by section 105A(1)-(3) of the Communications Act 2003.

However communications networks are extremely complicated and sometimes problems do occur, most often due to either a major fault / physical damage or intentionally as part of maintenance. The result can have the impact of disrupting connectivity, which is a serious problem if it prevents people from being able to contact the emergency services.

Mobile operator Three UK appears to have suffered from just such an outage and Ofcom will now examine the incident (here). We have been attempting to discover the background to this network problem, but so far Ofcom has said that they are unable to disclose further information and we rarely get a response from Three UK’s PR department.

Earlier this year KCOM in Hull suffered a similar incident due to damaged caused by Storm Eva at the end of January 2016 (here), which took many months to investigate and the regulator has yet to decide on a final outcome. It’s likely that Three UK will face an equally lengthy probe.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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