Telecoms firm says lack of response to 10-digit dialling could affect some businessesThursday, March 28, 2019
TELECOMMUNICATIONS Company FLOW says it is ready for the March 30 switch to mandatory 10-digit dialling after more than a year of preparation, a public awareness campaign and numerous technical tests.
However, the telecoms firm is concerned about the lack of response from some companies and organisations despite what it said was a wide range of measures to reach these entities, including advertisements in newspapers and other public advisories, direct engagement and bill messages over the past eight months.
On the business side, the company reported that it very close to completing the Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system reconfiguration for those entities under a professional services contract. The company noted, however, that there are some entities which have not yet completed the necessary steps to facilitate 10-digit dialling.
“There is concern around companies that to date have not prepared for 10-digit dialling. While there are several technical companies that can perform system reconfigurations, the testing and validation process requires Flow's support to be implemented properly. The fact that we were not contacted to collaborate with them indicates that there is possibly a lack of readiness on the part of those entities,” said Kayon Mitchell, director of corporate communications and stakeholder management.
“Given this lack of responsiveness, we anticipate that there is likely to be some disruption to the services that are impacted by the new 10-digit dialling format. For example, some alarm systems, point-of-sale terminals and PBXs could be negatively impacted if the necessary modifications have not been done. As such, we anticipate that a few major financial institutions, security companies and Government entities will face issues. The general public needs to be made aware of these matters and understand the root cause,” said Mitchell.
She said: “We embarked on a comprehensive public awareness campaign to ensure that our customers are fully aware of the change. We are currently seeing an adaptation rate of over 85 per cent on the mobile network and over 90 per cent on the fixed network during this permissive dialling period. When we transition to mandatory 10-digit dialling, however, customers who do not dial using the area code 876, will receive a prompt advising them to hang up and redial using the area code plus the seven-digit number.”
“While we understand how disruptive this change may be for some, FLOW is required to comply with the OUR's (Office of Utilities Regulation) determination and the deadline for implementation. We wish to assure the public that we have taken all necessary steps to minimise disruption to our customers and by extension the nation. Post-implementation, we will engage in rigorous ongoing monitoring and once any issue comes to our attention, we will do our best to resolve same, including looking at what can be done for those entities which did not prepare,” Mitchell continued.
FLOW, however, made it clear that it supports the move to 10-digit dialling as it is necessary to make an estimated additional eight million telephone numbers available to the market. The company is also required to comply with the OUR's timetable for implementation.