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Ofcom UK Probe Vonage Over VoIP Network Availability

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 (12:08 pm) - Score 2,344
ofcom uk telecoms regulator

The growing importance of Voice-over-IP (VoIP) service stability, which is becoming more essential as UK broadband ISP users increasingly switch away from traditional phone services, has been underlined today after Ofcom began investigating Vonage over its recent network availability.

Ofcom’s General Condition 3.1 (GC3.1) requires communication providers to “take all necessary measures to maintain, to the greatest extent possible (a) the proper and effective functioning of the public communications network at all times (b) in the event of catastrophic network breakdown or in cases of force majeure the fullest availability of the public communications network and telephone services and (c) uninterrupted access to emergency organisations for their end-users.”

Both Three UK and KCOM have recently been hit with big fines (here and here) after network problems, such as a major outage, meant they were unable to provide some or all customers with access to the emergency services (police, fire etc.). Section 105A(4) of the Communications Act 2003 requires CPs to take all appropriate steps to protect, “so far as possible,” the availability of the provider’s public electronic communications network.

Ofcom Statement on Vonage

Ofcom’s investigation will examine whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that Vonage has failed to comply with its obligations under GC3.1 and section 105A of the Act. We aim to complete our evidence gathering phase in this investigation in May 2018. We will publish a further update on next steps then.

End.

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Mark Jackson
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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3 Responses
  1. chrisp

    Its interesting how there has been a softening of how these restrictions have been applied over the years. I was advised some time ago that there must be at least 1 handset per floor that must go back to an exchange line, likewise phones in lifts etc had to be linked to an exchange, exchange lines being none voip and powered by the national phone network and terminating at an exchange but could go via cabs.

    More recently that requirement seems to have gone out the window and all voip offices are quite common around here. They obviously bring their own challenges and quirks that the previous dedicated phone system dealt with and all where oblivious to, the price of progress!!!

  2. Sean

    I am no expert but it seems to me that the availability of mobile phones has changed the need for a wired in landline. Lots of people now rely on their mobile and do not have a landline. I wonder if OFCOM have kept up with this move by people to increasingly use mobiles as their main and only phone.

  3. Will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Three were fined £1.9 million for a weak 999 call handling system. Im not aware of any other VoIP provider to be fined under GC3.1. They could well be made an example of and the fine made rather extensive. Rightfully so if they are not providing a reliable network. BT wouldn’t get away with it – they were fined £42m for a breach of rules.

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