Industry Highlights - August 2016

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I always enjoy when Ofcom’s Communications Market Report comes out! There’s normally a gem of a stat or two. Here are just a couple of things that caught my eye (and one that wasn’t in the report, but I wanted to share). Let’s start with a question – are you a digital detoxer?

Are you a "digital detoxer"?

Are you trying to find a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen? Then you're one of 15 million others doing the same. Ofcom's research found that "one in three adult internet users (34%), equivalent to 15 million people in the UK, has sought a period of time offline, with one in ten (11%) doing so in the last week alone."

But how much time away did you take? Could you take a whole month out? Only 5% of those that took a break did. 25% went internet-free for a day and 20% a week. And responses from it were generally positive, with people finding it "liberating" and a more productive time.

But if you're considering doing it, beware of the FOMO (fear of missing out). About 15% of detoxers felt "lost" or "cut off". Before you take a break from your internet access, maybe you need to read more about what Ofcom has found.

VoIP volumes are not fully captured

VoIP services are growing in their accessibility, for individual users and big businesses, and so the take up is growing. Factor in that ISDN is on the way out, then it's only going to grow even more. In Ofcom's report 42% of respondents use VoIP (voice call only) services, up from 40% in 2015 and 35% in 2014.

But if you search for VoIP in the report, repeatedly you'll see the phrase "VoIP volumes are not fully captured". This is skewing some of the other figures Ofcom report, like the quantity of business fixed line minutes or calls. They do state that "the fragmented nature of the business VoIP market means that gaining accurate data on this sector is difficult".

It's going to be something they'll need to work out, because I imagine that issue is only going to grow.

We've been enabling users to forward calls from their TTNC numbers to VoIP destinations for years. And watch out as we'll soon be releasing all new dedicated VoIP services in the next month. Like I said earlier, the products we're looking to release will accessible for individual business users, those new to VoIP, as well hardened VoIP users and big businesses.

Powers of attorney and third party bill management

Moving away from the Communications Market Report I thought it was worth highlighting an Ofcom requirement that works for you if can't contact your telecoms providers directly. Ofcom requires telecoms providers to allow you to nominate someone who they can talk to about your account.

They aren't liable for any bills you have, but they can at least have a conversation with your provider, and pay any bills if they wanted to.

Not being a legal person, I wouldn't want to dive in too much to the concept of power of attorney. This page on Ofcom's website goes into more detail about lasting power of attorney (LPA) and third party bill management.

With us you can nominate contacts to be added to your account who will be able to receive copies of billing related emails, including any payment confirmations or outstanding renewals. We generally only deal with the main account holder for changes to telephone numbers or other aspects of the account. But we also have to have an element of flexibility to work with a businesses organisational structure.

If you have any questions about this and your TTNC account (or potential account), just get in touch.

Mark Burcher