What Service Should You Expect if Your Landline Stops Working?

Posted 6 years ago

The telecoms industry is riddled with complexities. 

The consumerisation of technologies such as tablets, smartphones, Wi Fi, and Bluetooth has allowed most people to have a more than an acceptable, working, understanding of these, now vital, tools for business (and life).  Manufacturers of end user equipment such as smartphones and tablets are clearly motivated to make this technology understandable and hence, unsurprisingly, more saleable.

Of more concern to this article, is the opaque topology of the industry itself and how difficult it can be to understand what service to expect.  More likely to be done by design than by accident, the telecoms industry is arranged in many layers that begin with the carrier (BT Openreach, in almost all instances, in the case of fixed lines) and end with the billing provider who actually bills and contracts the end user.  Sometimes one party can act as more than one layer (or indeed all of them).  The difficulty for businesses can be understanding who is involved with their supply and why.  In reality, most of it is irrelevant – particularly if they are provided a good service.  What is most important, is that regardless whose logo appears on the bill, it is BT Openreach that is responsible for maintenance of all of fixed line infrastructure in the country.

BT Openreach might be an organisation that polarises opinion, but of much less variation is the framework they use to maintain the millions of landlines in the country.  Each line is set a service care level between 1 and 4 that indicates what the target fix time is in the event of a fault.  There is no guarantee the line will be fixed within that time but it is important to understand what to expect in the event of an outage.  Again, to reiterate, regardless who bills a customer for their fixed line services or who the customer reports a fault to, it is a BT Openreach engineer that will be summoned to fix the problem.  The engineers are dispatched according to the service level associated with the line type.

As an example, faults occurring on a line with the lowest service level (1) will generally not be fixed until the working day after the next working day when the fault was logged.  Conversely, a fault on a service level 4 line (the highest available level) should be cleared within 6 hours of the fault being logged any time of day, any day of the year.

Businesses need to be aware of their own estate of landlines and what service level is associated with each of those lines.  Then they must reconcile the business need for a particular line and how long they must wait for a problem to be resolved in the event of a fault.  The service level is the ultimate authority on the sequence by which engineers are dispatched to faults (and the gravity of your fault does not affect the urgency with which you are dealt with).  Can you, for example, afford to be without your telephone lines for 2 days?  Or 5 days taking into account a bank holiday weekend?  What impact would that have on your business? 

An up to date list of service levels and their target fix times are available on the BT Openreach website and we would recommend identifying the one that provides you with the protection you are most comfortable with.  There is nothing wrong with any of the service levels and, predictably, you pay more for a higher service level than a lower one.  The important point is businesses must have realistic expectations on when they are likely to have their lines repaired.

Of more importance to Abzorb, is businesses double check the landscape of their landline estate and ensure they have a care level that matches the business’s needs.  Any good telecoms provider should be able to test the lines remotely (regardless who the supplier is) and provide the service level information free of charge if requested.  

Free Telephone Service Maintenance Level Audit

Abzorb is offering a no-obligation audit for any UK business (regardless of the current supplier) to find out the current Service Level associated with any of its landlines.  The process can normally be done remotely and takes a matter of minutes. 

Please call us on 01484 405321 if you would like to arrange a free-of-charge audit or for more information.

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