Event Roundup: Digital Phone Switchover Healthcare Briefing
On December 8th techUK hosted a briefing on the digital landline switchover focusing on what this will mean and the opportunities and challenges for those operating in the health space. The briefing is part of a series of events organized by techUK to raise awareness of the retirement of the analog PSTN phone network and replacement by digital technology.
Sarah Shepherd from techUK opened the session and highlighted the work being carried out by Communications Providers and Openreach through techUK – including collaborating on a series of information sheets for different audiences. A leaflet focused on telecare is available below:
Telecare_techUK V7.pdf 1
David Christie from Virgin Media O2 set out the rationale for the landline upgrade, with current technology outdated and no longer guaranteed to be supported by manufacturers. Non-voice services that use the PSTN are a key focus for VMO2 and communications will be increased to drive further awareness. Openreach followed and highlighted the range of use cases of the analog line with over 400 identified – from lift lines to fridges to car part barriers. With over 30,000 engineers working for Openreach they will be working with them to promote key messaging and ensure considerations are made for vulnerable customers.
Sodhi Dillon from BT Consumer set out the regional approach to migration being taken which has been in place since summer 2023. Around 2 million of their customers have been identified as having additional needs and more dependent on the landline so will be migrated at a later date with special support in place.
Gillis Holgersson from DSIT updated on the Government’s work on monitoring, awareness raising and coordinating. Guidance has been published on their website and further information to Local Authorities is forthcoming.
Tom Sheffield from Sheffield Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust reflected on the Trust’s experience and from their own switchover experience and advised a three step approach – to audit line usage, to think of the wants and needs and then the operational change. Framing it as a Spend to Save project, the upgrade can bring big savings.
Rounding off the speakers was Mark Williams from the LGA who set out the common themes of their work: communications, data sharing, testing and funding. He highlighted the Switchover hub on the LGA website where a series of tools and resources for local authorities was available.
Further events will be organized by techUK with the next focusing on public sector and local authorities – date tbc in March.
You can watch the recording of the briefing below.
Sophie Greaves is Head of Programme for Communications Infrastructure and Services at techUK, and oversees the UK Spectrum Policy Forum.
Sophie was promoted to Head having been Programme Manager for Communications Infrastructure and Services, leading techUK's telecoms activities, engagement and policy development. Previously, Sophie was Programme Assistant across a variety of areas including the Broadband Stakeholder Group, Central Government, Financial Services and Communications Infrastructure programmes.
Prior to joining techUK, Sophie completed a masters in Film Studies at University College London; her dissertation examined US telecoms policy relating to net neutrality and content distribution.
Mia joined techUK in September 2023 as the Programme Manager for telecoms and net zero.
Sitting across two teams, Mia works to ensure that policy and regulatory conditions promote investment and innovation in the telecoms sector. And, that policy enables technology and digital solutions to deliver net zero ambitions.
Prior to joining techUK, Mia worked as a Senior Policy Adviser at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) leading on manufacturing and industrial decarbonisation policy.
Mia holds an MSc in International Development from the University of Manchester and a BA(Hons) in Politics and International Relations from the University of Nottingham.
Outside of work, Mia enjoys travelling, running, and cooking.
Tales has a background in law and economics, with previous experience in the regulation of new technologies and infrastructure.
In the UK and Europe, he offered consultancy on intellectual property rights of cellular and IoT technologies and on the regulatory procedures at the ITU as a Global Fellow at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI).
Tales has an LL.M in Law and Business by the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) and an MSc in Regulation at the London School of Economics, with a specialization in Government and Law.
Matthew joined techUK in August 2023 as a Programme Assistant, supporting the Communications Infrastructure programme, as well as the Digital Connectivity and Spectrum Policy Fora.
Sarah Shepherd heads up the recently established Digital Phone Switchover function which is housed within techUK.
The Digital Phone Switchover has been set up by Communications Providers and network operators to identify where common challenges to the IP migration program can be best resolved through a collaborative approach – be it enhanced communications and consistency of messages to increased awareness raising.
Prior to this appointment, Sarah managed the regulatory dimension of the PSTN switch off for BT plc and previously worked for the Broadband Stakeholder Group on telecoms policy issues across the broadband value chain.
Sarah has a background in European and UK policy and regulatory affairs.
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