Any industrial action would mean that reported faults on phone lines and broadband services would take a lot longer to fix, and could leave small businesses and households without phone and internet services for a longer period than would normally be expected.
The Communications Worker members are “angry” after huge pay-outs to executives including £1.2million for group chief Ian Livingston.
David Hill, Chairman of business phone systems company Cloud Net believes that his company can offer small businesses a robust alternative to BT so that companies can avoid being reliant on the telecoms giant and its thousands of unhappy workers.
“We all know how important telephone systems are to a business. When there is a fault or a problem then you need a solution and fast. Now that engineers are preparing to strike you may not get a repair service as fast as you’d like (if at all)!”
“Add to the equation, that mobile networks are maintained by a single company – Ericsson – whose engineers are distinctly disgruntled at the proposed redundancies and suddenly “traditional” communications companies don’t seem the most reliable.”
So what are the small business owners’ choices? Modern new VOIP companies believe that they can provide a greater degree of resilience than telecoms giants as its telephone systems are based on the internet.
The essence of the internet is its robustness. Initially it was designed to withstand a nuclear blast by having multiple routing options so if one part goes down, others pick up the load.
What will happen if there is a fault on a BT ISDN line, which many small businesses use, all company phones die and there are few options to reconnect quickly if no engineers are available.
A VOIP phone system uses the internet and allows users to make and take calls anywhere there is a broadband connection. If one connection goes down, then users can take their phones and plug them into an alternative broadband line, for example an additional line in their office.
Alternatively users can take the phones home and plug it into their home broadband service and work there for the day. This means that users will still have use their usual office phone numbers and all the switchboard features they are used to, including the ability to transfer calls within the business.
If users want to benefit from Cloud telephony, then there is no guarantee that BT will allow the porting of numbers away during the strike – so now is the time to act.
Cloud and VOIP telephone providers will still be able to configure systems in the period of a strike but may not be able to transfer numbers – so new users would have to use new telephone numbers which would not be ideal.