Bowie raises digital phone concerns after Storm Arwen

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie has urged telecoms bosses to review a new digital phone service after local customers were cut off by Storm Arwen.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 6:58 am
Andrew Bowie visited parts on the north east following the storm last year.
Andrew Bowie visited parts on the north east following the storm last year.

The next generation Digital Voice service will replace traditional analogue landlines by 2025, and requires both active broadband and power to work.

Large parts of rural Scotland saw electricity connections knocked out by the storm on November 25, with Digital Voice customers in the North East waiting up to two weeks to be reconnected.

The Conservative MP has written to chief executive Philip Jansen asking for failsafes to be worked in, and to pause rollout “if necessary.”

Mr Bowie raised concerns over customers’ ability to contact emergency services while mobile phone networks are down, following local reports a house burned down before the fire brigade could attend. He has also requested a meeting with BT “to discuss what lessons have been learnt in the wake of Storm Arwen”.

Mr Bowie writes: “During Storm Arwen concerns were raised over flaws in the system. To operate, Digital Voice needs a broadband connection and a power source.

“The power cuts caused by Storm Arwen left customers of Digital Voice without a means of making phone calls, in some cases for several days. I am afraid that this is a seriously retrograde step that will make communication in an emergency even more challenging."