999 hotline: Ofcom launches investigation into BT following UK-wide disruption to emergency calls

Ofcom has launched an investigation into BT after a nationwide disruption to emergency call services over the weekend.

Ofcom has launched an investigation into BT following a disruption to emergency call services across the UK on Sunday (June 25). The telecommunications company, which manages the 999 phone system, came under fire due to the system failures which prevented 999 calls from connecting.

BT subsequently switched to a “back-up system” at around 10am, however, issues persisted as some services reported a delay in calls being received. The company then issued an apology for the technical glitches caused and said the line was fully restored on the same evening.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ofcom said: “Our rules require BT and other providers to take all necessary measures to ensure uninterrupted access to emergency organisations as part of any call services offered. They also require providers to take all necessary measures to ensure the fullest possible availability of calls and internet in the event of catastrophic network breakdown or in cases of force majeure.

“Separately, providers are required to take appropriate and proportionate measures to identify and reduce the risks of, and prepare for the occurrence of, anything that compromises the availability, performance or functionality of their network or service.

“Providers are also required to take appropriate and proportionate measures to prevent adverse effects arising from any such compromise. Where there is an adverse effect on the network or service, the provider must take appropriate and proportionate measures to remedy or mitigate that effect.

“Our investigation will seek to establish the facts surrounding the incident and examine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that BT has failed to comply with its regulatory obligations.”

BT said at the time: “We are sincerely sorry for the distress this has caused. There was a short period of time as we switched over to the back-up system during which calls could not get through.

“In this instance, we are still able to see who is trying to reach the operator, and our handlers reconnect calls as a matter of urgency. Our back up platform took calls throughout most of Sunday, with people able to call 999 as usual.

Ofcom has launched an investigation into BT after a nationwide disruption to emergency call services over the weekend.  (Photo by Leon Neal - Pool/Getty Images)Ofcom has launched an investigation into BT after a nationwide disruption to emergency call services over the weekend.  (Photo by Leon Neal - Pool/Getty Images)
Ofcom has launched an investigation into BT after a nationwide disruption to emergency call services over the weekend. (Photo by Leon Neal - Pool/Getty Images) | Getty Images

“The primary 999 service was restored earlier this evening (Sunday) and we are no longer relying on the back-up system. We are monitoring the service, and we continue to work hard to determine the root cause and the impact this has had.”

Related topics:

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.