Ofcom announces the next steps for 0870 numbers

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Ofcom has written to TTNC and other Operators informing us that a critical development means that there will be a delay in implementing the changes to the regulation of calls to 0870 numbers, previously intended to take effect on 1st of February 2008.

Operators and Ofcom have recently identified certain 0870 services, many of which protect human life and property, where the option to use pre-call announcements causes them to fail.

This potentially endangers the life and security of people who depend on the reliability of such services.

The problem relates to important alarm and security services which use automatic dialling systems and are often used to communicate directly with the Police and fire stations.

Industry estimates that there are hundreds of thousands of these services in use in the UK.

These systems eventually "time out" if a recognised phone signal is not heard. Use of a preannouncement may cause these safety services to fail with potentially catastrophic and life threatening consequences.

Mark Burcher