We reached out to the industry body, the LEIA (Lift and Escalator Industry Association), so we could better understand the challenges they might face in moving to Digital Phonelines by 2025. We wanted to find out the things that we, and the Communications Providers we serve, need to be aware of.
In the UK there are over 300,000 of them - everywhere from train stations and hospitals to shopping centres, flats, and airports- of which 180,000 use PSTN lines.
Perhaps the key issue raised in these conversations has been lift alarms. Every lift has an alarm, usually a button that connects to a rescue service via a pre-programmed phone number. It works by using an auto-dialler – a piece of analogue hardware that sits on top of the lift car and is plugged into the phone line using an Openreach master socket. The rescue service is often run by the lift company – although not always- and both the lift company and the lift owner have different responsibilities. As the industry changes to Digital Phone Lines, everyone – the lift maintenance companies, the lift owners, and Communication Providers (CPs)- will have their part to play, and it’s vital that everyone knows what their responsibilities are.
The lift maintenance companies buy hardware, like the autodialler, from a manufacturer and install it on top of the lift car. At this point things change- the lift owner now becomes the owner of the hardware and is usually responsible for the phone line too. As the industry moves towards Digital Phone Lines, it’s crucial that there’s clear communication between all the stakeholders in the supply chain, as both the hardware and phone line need to be upgraded.
On one hand there are the 130+ lift maintenance companies that operate in the UK.
On the other hand, the lift owners, who range from NHS Trusts to Housing Associations, and from local councils to railway stations.
Every building with a lift will need to upgrade their alarm system to work with Digital Phone Lines.
BT Openreach factsheet: Industry (openreach.com)
LEIA article: Analogue telephone shutdown and migration to VOIP-based services
LEIA article: Telephone lines and lifts – background information