In light of recent unprecedented events resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we wish to update you on the challenges the UK telecommunications industry is facing, what we are doing to protect the service we deliver to you, and what ongoing risks remain as the situation progresses.
The safety and wellbeing of our staff remain a top priority and at this time our office remains open. We may have to relocate, either by choice or Government decision, to home-working over the coming days. Our existing Disaster Recovery plans already have a robust schedule in place, so our customers should see no noticeable difference in the service they receive from us, it may just take us a little longer to get back to you due to the high level of requests. Site visits by our engineers will still be carried out if required but the level of work they can carry out will be dependent on its urgency, the safeguarding of their own personal health and any future announcements by the Government.
We are sure you have seen the news coverage of several UK mobile networks and other online services being degraded and suffering outages over the last few days. We are directly connected to several of the high profile providers that have experienced issues this week and this has caused, on brief occasions, some calls routing via these providers to degrade or fail. We are constantly working with our primary carriers, to minimise any risk to the services we provide to our customer.
It is likely that demand on the UK’s telecommunications infrastructure will increase significantly as of Monday 23rd March due to the closing of all UK schools, and as the level of home-working continues to increase. We anticipate this will put more strain on already congested links as not only will there be student e-learning in progress, but other online services such as Netflix, home video conferencing, Microsoft Teams and Office 365 will be used much more than usual.
In the event that internet links or certain providers become overly congested, customers may begin to report degraded service, engaged/not-reachable tones or poor quality calls. Often in these cases, the cause of the problem lies much higher up in the UK infrastructure or with the remote party’s provider, neither of which we are able to control. National problems are often intermittent and unpredictable and it is not unusual for end-users to initially believe the problem lies with their own telephone system. We recommend the use of Downdetector.co.uk (www.downdetector.co.uk) to monitor the status of the UK’s larger providers. For example, if you begin to receive a large number of complaints that certain mobile telephones cannot be called, and Downdetector is reporting problems at O2 and EE, this will help when explaining the issue end users.
We are aware that many end users are dependent on their telephone system in potentially life-threatening situations and especially given the danger posed by COVID-19, demand may be higher than usual for these users. To reassure those in high-risk industries, we maintain dedicated channels directly with BT solely for calls to the emergency services on 999, 101 and 111; and in the event of congestion calls to these numbers are given priority over all other calls within our network. Followed by emergency calls; healthcare providers (hospitals, GP surgeries, clinics, care homes, dentists) are given priority where possible. During periods of extremely high demand, our carriers may restrict the number of new calls-per-second end users can make or receive that do not fit into a priority category. This is to ensure service is available to those who need it the most and may be in danger.
The best way to contact us remains via the following email addresses, that way a ticket will automatically be logged:
Above all else, we send all of our customers, their families and friends, our best wishes to remain healthy and safe during this difficult period.