Telephones, the most widely used business communication tools, are in danger of being ignored in the rush for next-generation broadband, says the communications providers' trade body.
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The Federation of Communication Services (FCS) has called on industry regulator Ofcom and larger network operators not to ditch voice as they roll out their future networks.
FCS CEO Jacqui Brookes said communications providers deliver more than three million WLR (wholesale line rental) or "unbundled" lines. "Eighty-seven per cent of SME customers surveyed recently said that it is important to have continuing access to traditional voice services for their business," she said.
"At the same time, customers said they value the responsiveness, personalised service, flexibility and understanding of their needs that the independent channel provides."
Brookes said it was essential for communications providers to participate in the fibre world to continue to serve their customers.
"But in the fibre world the channel is asking what and where is the voice-over-next-generation-access product for these smaller service providers?" she said. "We ask Ofcom and telecoms operators to take account of the reseller requirements when developing future next-generation-access delivery policy."
The FCS will publish details of its survey on 14 October following its annual conference, which opens today.