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BSIA urges alarm installers to take action ahead of IP voice-based telephony service

19 August 2020

THE BRITISH Security Industry Association (BSIA) is urging security installers to take swift action on their alarm signalling estates in advance of the transition to an all-IP (Internet Protocol) fibre-based voice service, with migration in some areas taking place as early as this coming autumn.

For their part, security system installers need to be aware of several key points. By way of example, Openreach is upgrading the existing analogue telephone network to an all IP service with the plan to migrate to a full Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) digital platform by the end of 2025. These changes are happening because the PSTN system is dated and difficult to maintain and also due to the fact that there’s a global drive towards digital technology.

The electronic security industry will see the effects of the migration later this year when BT Consumer plans to expand its ‘Digital Voice’ customer criteria to include ‘special services’ like security and fire alarms as well as care pendants. Installers may start to receive enquiries from their customers asking how existing alarm systems may be affected.

Further, Openreach is running IP voice trials in the Salisbury and Mildenhall exchange areas. PSTN services will no longer be sold in these areas from December 2020 and May 2021 respectively. Based on Openreach data, approximately 30,000 residential and business premises are located in these exchange footprints. Any of these premises with an alarm that currently uses a PSTN line for signalling will be affected.

From June 2021, a further 117 priority exchanges across the UK will be migrated to the IP voice service, duly affecting up to 1.2 million customers. After this date, PSTN services will no longer be sold in these exchange areas, which include Belfast, Birmingham, Cornwall, London, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.

Quarterly announcements

There are 5,600 Openreach exchanges to upgrade in total and quarterly announcements are expected for exchanges subject to migration to meet the 2025 deadline.

Many security systems are subject to police service and/or insurance policy conditions and customers have an expectation that their system will function on the new IP Voice service. Installers need to be diligent in ensuring this remains the case.

Ofcom and all telecoms stakeholders are also urging security Installers and the wider industry to take action such that they are all fully prepared for the changes. Alarm signalling will be affected and installers should contact their signalling service providers to limit the impact of the transition process on their customers.

David Wilkinson, director of technical services at the BSIA, said: “We’ve been keeping our industry sector up-to-date with the changes as they’ve developed. Given the recent announcements from Openreach, Ofcom and communication providers, our message has escalated to a ‘Call to Action’, asking installers to take proactive steps towards mitigating the risks of systems that may fail to operate if left unchecked.”

*Further detailed information supporting this statement from the BSIA can be found here