BT has paused the roll-out of its new Digital Voice service which is ultimately set to replace all existing phone connections with a new broadband powered product offering higher quality audio.
Unlike the traditional phone service Digital Voice requires a constant power source inside the home, leading to concerns about users’ ability to make and receive calls during any power outages.
Although the company had promised to help some customers by providing battery back-ups, it now says that the “huge disruption” caused by Storms Arwen and Eunice this issue “into sharper focus.”
In a blog post, Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division, wrote: “While many lines were cut in those storms, including the older phone lines, as well as power lines – we do recognise that for some customers, making calls would not have been possible with a broadband-only connection.
“We have listened to our customers’ concerns and we have more work to do to improve the resilience of the network, working with energy providers on faster power restoration and providing better back-up solutions for customers.”
Allera adds that the firm will use the pause to introduce several improvements, including hybrid phones which can switch to a mobile network and have a long-lasting battery, the option of longer-lasting battery back-up units for customers who want them and providing in-home ‘mobile landlines’ for people without broadband.
He’s also vowed to launch an awareness campaign so that customers better understand the need to switch.