2018-10-01

OFCOM and some sanity? Maybe?

We have had, for some time, a term on our order form for all communications service a requirement to agree to:

"(OFCOM GC20.5) You confirm that you, and all end users, have access to a missing child helpline using 116000 - i.e. you all have mobile phones, landlines or payphone you could use to call this number. Sorry, stupid clause I know, blame OFCOM."

The new GCs that come in today are slightly saner and only apply where we are providing services "for originating calls to a number or numbers in the National Telephone Numbering Plan, excluding any Click to Call Service". Finally these requirements for access to the missing child helpline no longer apply to anyone providing any communications service (e.g. broadband or leased lines, etc).

So, at last, the requirement is removed from the terms on our order form. Our telephony services do allow 116000 to be called.

I should add that is this insane in the first place, as the 116000 "missing child helpline" is (a) not for missing children to call, i.e. the people that may need to remember some special short code (116000 is not so short), and (b) simply passes on details to the police, it is not a counselling service or something otherwise more useful than FUCKING CALLING THE POLICE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

This, and some cookie laws, are the few cases I curse the EU stupidity. But at least whilst we are in the EU we can try and fix these.

Also, OFCOM have finally removed some of the requirements to provide directory enquiries and operator assistance. The Internet replaced these a long time ago, but OFCOM still needed them until today.

8 comments:

  1. Until I read the terms when ordering a VoIP service I didn't even know that number was a thing, so why you need to be able to call it is beyond me!

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  2. Is there a document which summarises the differences, or do we have to do a manual compare?

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  3. Surely a phone can call any old number the caller wishes to call?

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    Replies
    1. The 116000 access applied to people selling leased lines even.

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    2. That's crazy, simply crazy. A leased line is a funny old thing, people don't use them for making phone calls I assume! What a world we live in.

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  4. In any case, even if did not apply to leased lines, it's not the case that "a phone can call any number the caller wishes" — its down on what their voice provider supports (and their upstream, and so on, if necessary)?

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    Replies
    1. Fascinating... and there I was thinking that a phone was just a phone!

      I wonder how long it will be before we all stop using phone numbers and just call people via something like WhatsApp (encrypted, HQ digital audio and no need to remember numbers)?

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  5. I imagine the salaries at Ofcom are very good. What sort of sum would we be talking for their Chief Executive for instance, do you think?

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