The Department for Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSIT) has agreed with network operators to protect vulnerable customers’ existing telecare services during the digital switchover from copper-based wire to a new fibre-based network. The DSIT has published a new policy paper, the Network Operator Charter, which commits network operators to the agreed measures and necessary mitigations during the digital switchover.

The switch could potentially leave vulnerable customers at risk of digital exclusion if their telephone systems are not upgraded. The telecom operators will work with Ofcom, the Government, and phone providers to create a shared definition of a ‘vulnerable’ customer and establish an industry-wide standard. No telecare user will be migrated to a digital landline service without the provider, customer, or telephone company confirming they have a functioning solution. The operators agreed to provide at least 12 months’ notice to phone providers before enforcing the switchover of a customer and will jointly discuss suitable migration options. They will also work with partners, including internet providers, to check if their customers own a telecare device.


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