A North East MP has urged telecoms bosses to review a new digital phone service after local customers were cut off by Storm Arwen.
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.
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie 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 reports a local house burned down before the fire brigade could attend.
The Conservative MP has also requested a meeting with BT “to discuss what lessons have been learnt in the wake of Storm Arwen,” and has asked what more can be done to support the impacted rural communities within West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.
The Conservative MP 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.
“A problem exacerbated by the fact the most mobile masts were also out of action.”