KCOM gets stung £900k for emergency calls failure

Hull-based independent telco KCOM has been found by Ofcom to have breached rules regarding the availability of calls to emergency services and therefore fined £900,000.

Ofcom’s investigation found that on 28 December 2015 KCOM’s emergency call service for the Hull area failed for a four-hour period. This was blamed on the flooding of a BT exchange in York following a storm, but KCOM is still considered culpable due to having this single point of failure in its emergency call routing. There were, apparently, back-up routes in place but these also relied on the York exchange, thus defeating the object of them.

“Ofcom rules mean that people must be able to call the emergency services around the clock,” said Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s Enforcement and Investigations Director. “Any failure to connect 999 calls is extremely serious. Today’s fine serves as a clear warning to the telecoms industry that it must prioritise access to the emergency services, no matter what the circumstances.”

KCOM is a novel telco in so much as it just serves the Hull region and is the sole provider in the absence of a BT network there. While the fine seems quite high for such a small operator, Ofcom is compelled to judge KCOM by the same standards as giants such as BT. Here’s a handy diagram illustrating what went wrong.

Ofcom emergency call

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