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Joyce urges telcos to sign up to 111 code

24 Mar 2010

ICT Minister Steven Joyce is urging telco providers to sign up to an industry code on emergency calling, following a recent 111 outage.

“I am calling on the telecommunications carriers to sign up to the Emergency Calling Code as a matter of urgency,” Joyce announced in a press statement today.

Recent outages on Telecom’s XT Network and a fault in the Papatoetoe exchange which affected 111 calls prompted the Minister’s concern about emergency calling.

The Emergency Calling Code has been developed by the Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF) with input from the government. It is not necessary to be a member of the TCF to sign up for the Code, which means telcos publically opposed to the TCF, such as 2degrees and TeamTalk, can become signatories.

Joyce says that an industry-led voluntary code is preferable to regulation but the Government will be prepared to act if necessary.

“I also call upon mobile network operators to complete a formal arrangement for emergency roaming between their networks, using SOS mode,” he says.

SOS mode enables mobile phones to use alternative networks for emergency calling when they are unable to access their own network for technical reasons. During the fourth major XT outage the SOSmode failed to activate and an XT customer attempting to call 111 did not get through.

Government officials are “actively engaged” with the independent review of the XT Network being carried out by Analysys Mason as well as Telecom’s internal investigation of the fault in the Papatoetoeexchange, Joyce says.