Ofcom probes Virgin Media switch-off compliance

Ofcom has announced it has opened an “own-initiative” investigation into Virgin Media’s compliance with its rules whilst migrating customers from analogue to digital landlines.

The regulator said the investigation will examine whether Virgin Media has met obligations under the General Conditions of Entitlement.

The investigation relates to concerns about Virgin Media’s compliance with two areas: whether all necessary measures were taken to ensure uninterrupted access to emergency organisations, and whether the company complied with policies and procedures for the fair and appropriate treatment of vulnerable consumers.

Ofcom said it has “been clear with companies that they must, during this process, ensure they identify, protect and support vulnerable customers”.

The regulator emphasised that “any action, or inaction, taken by communications providers which disrupts consumers’ ability to reach [emergency] services is of the utmost seriousness”.

Virgin Media said it has been regularly updating and working closely with Ofcom and the government in preparation for the switch from analogue to digital.

A Virgin Media spokesperson said, “Last December we signed a Government-led charter and have paused all landline migrations, carried out an end-to-end review and will make further improvements to the measures we already have in place before switchovers restart.

“While telecoms companies like us have a crucial role to play in this switchover activity, it’s essential that telecare companies and local authorities also step up and meet their responsibilities to ensure everyone receives the support they need. We’re cooperating fully with the regulator’s investigation and will continue to work closely with the rest of the industry and other parties.

“Alongside other measures to help us identify and best support those who have additional requirements, we urge any Virgin Media customers who are vulnerable or use a telecare device to ensure they have notified us. This can be done by calling our customer care team who will update our systems and ensure the right assistance is provided in future.”

Ofcom said it will publish further information on the progress of this investigation in due course.