999 price changes – helping you meet your GC4 obligations

Simon Woodhead

Simon Woodhead

6th January 2014

Communication Providers have been obligated to offer 999 services on VoIP calls since OFCOM modified the General Conditions several years ago. The Communications Act 2003 conveys a legal obligation to comply with the General Conditions as published by OFCOM. Not all services are within scope but most are and in addition to not complying, providers not offering 999 are putting their end-users at risk.

As a wholesale provider we have offered wholesale access to update 999 records and make 999 calls since before it was mandatory but we have been somewhat underwhelmed by the uptake. A common justification has been cost which, whilst we doubt it would wash with OFCOM, is something we can help with.

Effective February 1st we will be abolishing the existing pricing and instead will be charging per update to the data and for each call. Calls are listed already in our standard rates (see Operator Services tab) and updates will be charged at GBP5 / USD10 / EUR7 per number submission. The take-on of existing data for ported numbers will be included in the porting fees.

We feel it is still responsible to undertake an interop. process rather than open 999 up generally and therefore 999 access will remain opt-in and subject to specific terms. Prior to enablement we will need to verify the data you have submitted and ask you to make test calls. Note, these calls will NOT complete as it is unacceptable to make test calls to live call handling agents but we will be able to examine the call trace and verify data. We are abolishing the set-up charge for this in the hope it encourages more CPs to comply.

Once enabled your account will be permitted to make 999 calls and you must ensure that data has been submitted for every number used as CLI through our API. Unfortunately we cannot update data for other networks’ numbers. Whilst you will be able to make 999 calls with any CLI (including other operators’ numbering), passing a 999 call without data populated is taken extremely seriously. Any enquiry by the EHA in relation to a 999 call on your account with data not populated, or made through another network using a Simwood number which has unpopulated data will be charged at £150 and you should expect further action by OFCOM.

Given the number of CPs we expect to now subscribe to 999 services, we will need to process requests on a first-come-first-served basis. Priority establishment remains possible at the existing pricing but new establishment at the reduced pricing will be done on a best endeavours basis. You are responsible for honouring your GC4 obligations and should choose accordingly.

As a further incentive and to make the change more palatable for existing customers, the data submission charge will not apply for any submission made before February 1st. As a first step you should review the API documentation and submit data for your existing numbers using the API. Once you have done so, please then contact us to request an interop test and establishment.

We hope this helps you comply with GC4 more readily!

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