Jersey Consumer Council

Battery Backup Triumph

Celebrating Gigabit Fibre Battery Back-up Triumph

The Jersey Consumer Council is today celebrating a lobbying triumph, which it initiated on behalf of many of the Island’s most vulnerable consumers.

Consumer Council Chairman, Advocate Rose Colley explains: “With the new fibre telecoms network gaining wider coverage across Jersey, it had become apparent that, in the event of a power cut, corded telephones and community alarms (such as panic buttons for the elderly or disabled) wouldn’t work! We realised that this could put the safety of some of our most vulnerable sections of society at significant risk and decided, along with Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Age Concern, to lobby the Channel Islands Competition Regulatory Authority (CICRA) to address the situation.

“For people who own mobile phones, a temporary power outage may not present a huge communication difficulty. However, along with the teams at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Age Concern, we recognised that there is a very low level of mobile phone ownership or usage within the ‘vulnerable’ sector (a locally based, casual poll of senior citizens in October 2013 suggested that only around 2.5% were in possession of a mobile phone). Yet, with society encouraging more and more elderly people to remain living independently in their own homes, it is often these individuals who rely most heavily on telephone contact for their safety and wellbeing.

“We were delighted that the CICRA took up our cause and forged a Working Party to approach JT, highlighting the fact that the local, dramatic technology revolution in telecommunications was threatening to put some of the Island’s most vulnerable consumers at risk.

“We are over the moon that as a direct result of our driving force, vulnerable Islanders will now be provided with free battery back-up units, as a routine part of the new fibre telecoms roll out in Jersey. This will ENSURE that these customers continue to have a landline connection that works at all times – even during periods of power outages.

“The Jersey Consumer Council is proud to have ignited this critical gigabit battery back-up debate and we are immensely grateful to all the parties involved, including Age Concern; the Citizens’ Advice Bureau; CICRA and, of course, Jersey Telecom. This has been a collaborative venture on behalf of vulnerable Islanders and we are very satisfied to have achieved such a positive outcome.”