Own-initiative investigation against Virgin Media about compliance with General Condition 4 (Emergency Call Numbers)

16 June 2008

Complainant: Ofcom own-initiative
Investigation against: Virgin Media
Case opened: 14 December 2007
Case closed: 11 June 2008
Issue: Compliance with the obligation that Communications Providers shall, to the extent technically feasible, make Caller Location Information for all calls to emergency call numbers available to the Emergency Organisations handling those calls
Relevant Instrument: General Condition 4 of the General Conditions of Entitlement (“GC 4”)

Ofcom is today publishing a non-confidential version of the notification issued to Virgin Media under sections 94 and 98 of the Communications Act 2003 on 21 December 2007 in which it used its urgent powers to require Virgin Media to take certain actions to comply with the requirements of General Condition 4.2, as set out in the update note below. See link below.

Since issuing this notification, Ofcom has been closely monitoring the actions Virgin Media has taken to comply with the requirements of the notification. Virgin Media has advised Ofcom that its customer databases indicate the geographic location of the customer; that it has dealt with the discrepancies hightlighted in Ofcom's notification; and put in place new systems to ensure it complies with GC4.

Having carefully considered Virgin’s submissions, Ofcom has decided not to take further enforcement action and on that basis is closing the case. Virgin Media’s compliance with GC4 will continue to be monitored as part of Ofcom’s industry-wide enforcement programme into GC4 (see related item).

Update Note – 21 December 2007

Ofcom has today issued a notification to Virgin Media under sections 94 and 98 of the Communications Act 2003. The notification sets out that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Virgin Media has failed to make Caller Location Information for all 999 calls available to the Emergency Organisations handling those calls.

The notification therefore requires Virgin Media to take the following actions by 11 January 2008:

  • to ensure data on its customer databases indicates the geographic location of the customer;
  • to ensure that, to the extent technically feasible, there are no discrepancies between its customer databases and those available to emergency organisations; and
  • to make any relevant representations to Ofcom about the matters contained in the notification and explanatory statement.

Ofcom has reasonable grounds to believe that this is an urgent case and it is therefore appropriate to require these actions to be completed sooner than the normal deadline (which would be one month after a notification is issued).

After 11 January 2008 Ofcom will decide whether further enforcement action is appropriate in this case.

A non-confidential version of the notification is currently being prepared and will be published in January 2008.

End of Update Note

Under GC 4 Virgin Media is required to ensure that its customers can access Emergency Organisations by using emergency call numbers, including the “999” number. Virgin Media is also required, to the extent technically feasible, to make Caller Location Information for all 999 calls available to the Emergency Organisations handling those calls.

The provision of Caller Location Information by Communications Providers to Emergency Organisations is of vital importance, and Ofcom considers that it is technically feasible for Communications Providers that operate fixed networks (such as Virgin Media) to ensure that this information is provided.

Ofcom’s investigation will examine whether Virgin Media has failed to comply with the requirements of GC 4.

Separately, Ofcom has also opened a monitoring and enforcement programme to monitor compliance by other fixed Communications Providers with GC 4 (see related items). Ofcom does not have any evidence that other fixed Communications Providers are unable to provide Caller Location Information in relation to 999 calls but is opening this enforcement programme to formally request information from fixed Communications Providers on this matter.

Case Leader: Selena Bevis e-mail: (selena.bevis@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/00974/11/07