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Broadband Phone (VoIP) Enhancements

Broadband Phone (VoIP) Enhancements

Broadband Phone (VoIP) Enhancements

On 8th September OFCOM delivered their modified approach to regulating access to the emergency services from Voice over Internet Protocol services (VoIP services). Following on from a consultation period they identified a high level of consumer confusion about access to the emergency services from VoIP services. That confusion ultimately means there is a risk of someone trying to make an emergency call from a service that does not provide access therefore wasting valuable seconds in times of distress. Although most users can reach for another phone to make emergency calls, we recognise that a small delay can result in increased risk of harm. Given this risk, and the recent rapid growth in the use of VoIP services, we've made some enhancements under the guidance of OFCOM to ensure that our service is compliant with OFCOMs guidelines and provides you with a safe VoIP service. The statement becomes more important as we move to Next Generation Networks where VoIP is set to play a pivatol part in the replacement of traditional voice services. So, heres a quick overview of the changes we made last month which we think you should know about: - You can now make calls to the Emergency services (999 & 112) - We've made some provisions for the delivery of location informaton on silent calls - when we create your Broadband Phone account we automatically submit your broadband fixed line location to a National Location information database which allows the Emergency Services to access your location information when you make a call to the Emergency Services (you can only have Broadband Phone if you have an active Plusnet broadband account), important for instances where you may not be able to provide the details yourself. You'll notice that there is an area within the Broadband Phone control panel labelled 'Emergency Contact Details' which allows you to change this default address and add a number of other locations, which you can switch between should you be using your Broadband Phone from multiple locations. Its important to note that we do not keep track of the locations you make calls from - its up to you to keep your location information up to date, especially when you move house. You can find the feature on your VoIP admin pages There's a detailed PDF document which explains the OFCOM statement in full on the consultation pages of OFCOMs website - it is rather heavyweight so I'd use the search function to find the area your looking for. Providing 999/112 services does have a knock on effect - by default we become a PATS provider (Public Access Telephony Services) as apposed to a PECS provider (Public Electronic Communication Services). Crazy acronyms I know but in real terms means our Broadband Phone service is provided under similar regulatory conditions as our Home Phone services. Our Help & Support pages now have an updated Broadband Phone FAQ which lets you know how you can take advantage of the services offered to those with special requirements. For instance, you can find out how to get a text copy of your voicemail messages and get clear print bills/call records. AND on top of all that....(yes we have been busy)... We've started to integrate our portal with our supplier systems which means that we'll start to have greater flexibility and accessibility to services and features offered by our supplier - Gradwell. For the administration fee of £5 (inc-vat one off fee) you can select any PSTN number (01, 02 and 08 numbers only) as your outbound number. This wont affect your existing 01/02 number and you'll simply retain all your existing numbers. All you have to do is prove to us that you own this number by attaching a scanned copy of a bill with the number and your address clearly stated on the scanned bill and we can add this number to your account (usually within 2 working days). Once its been added you'll be able to use the 'Outbound number' drop down menu at http://voip.plus.net/login/account_overview to flick between your outbound numbers. We'll let you remove the number for free if you wish - just let us know by raising a ticket. It's a really useful feature if you're a business user, have a 08 number and make lots of outbound calls but still want to receive the same revenue share on inbound calls. Theres loads of other uses but this one came to mind as being the most influential. Some of our Community site members are already discussing the advantages of using this feature - you can find further information at this Community site thread More features coming soon! Gradwell are developing an outbound SMS service which automatically links into your credit balance and also hope to integrate Spinvox into their platform so voicemail text charges are taken from your credit balance as well. Both are in development stage and we hope to take advantage of these features once they become available. We're also working on providing pre-configured IP Telephony - when we've got all our processes in order we will be looking to test the order process so keep an out on our Community site pages for any updates. We want to make it easier for you to use VoIP and by setting it up for you all you should have to do is plug the phone in and start making calls! Fring have also released an updated version of their software - Fring provide mobile phone software which lets you connect to your VoIP account and then allows you to make calls using the minutes available on the product you have with us. For more information on the latest Fring software release go to this Community site thread. If you're eligible for Broadband Phone and want to take advantage of these enhancements you can activate your account by clicking the 'Activate Broadband Phone' icon within the Member Centre > Account details section. If you have an account and don't know how to access the Broadband Phone control panel at http://voip.plus.net - raise a ticket and we'll resend your account details and get you started. I hope you've found this update informative, we've currently got just over 5,000 users using our new platform and the customer base is growing each month. Activate your free account through the My Account pages to get started! Rich

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