#ChristmasCallPlan – Call Forwards

With the Horizon and InBound platforms it is quick and easy to re-route your calls over Christmas.

Today InBound – Create a Christmas call plan using the date and time control nodes to send calls where you need them, when you need them. Add in a Divert node to build additional destination numbers if your main destination is busy or unavailable. Use the ‘Schedule Activate Option’ so you can build you Call Plan in advanced, knowing it will activate when you need it to.

Coming Soon Horizon – Use Call forward and Divert options to send calls to mobiles. Set up Voicemail to email alerts so you get copies of your Voicemail messages sent to your email for you to listen to where ever you need to. Use the Hunt Group schedule facility to plan your call plans in advanced. Now available here.

InBound Date and Time Control Nodes

Day time

 

 

These nodes allow you to set different termination points on different days and at different times (e.g. one for Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and one for evenings and weekends).When you add these nodes into a call plan two boxes appear, one called control and one called default. Click on the control box to specify certain days and times and then drag a destination node onto the box to specify your termination number. Drag a destination node onto the control box and any days/times not listed on the control box will follow this routing. So in the example below, the calls route to destination Y Mon-Fri 9-5 and destination X at all other times:

 

Call plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

InBound Divert Node-

divert

 

 

This allows you to set alternative destinations if a destination number is busy, not answered or suffering from a network error. Simply drag a divert node onto a destination node and then add destinations for each of the three options.

InBound Schedule Activate –

Once you have built your call plan, instead of clicking Activate, instead click Schedule Activate. In the window that appears specify the start date and time for this call plan then click Done. Your call plan will appear as if it is already active but if you go back to the call plan list it will show your call plan with the date and time it is due to activate next to it.

Horizon Call Plan options and #Festive Failovers still to come, keep checking back!

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Changes to non-geographic call charges

We’ve all seen it, the small print on adverts and TV shows under the non-geographic number saying ‘Calls cost 20p per minute from a BT landline. Other landlines may vary and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more.’ Great if you have a BT landline but not so helpful if you are calling from anywhere else.

In response to research showing that people are confused by how charging for service numbers works, Ofcom are bringing in changes to make it all a little clearer.

From the 1st July onwards the rate you pay per minute to call numbers beginning with 084, 087, 09 and 118 will consist of two parts:

Part 1 – The Access Charge – This part is determined by whoever bills you for your calls (such as Deep Blue)

Part 2 – The Service charge – This part is determined by Ofcom based on the number prefix

So what does this mean for you? From July 1st onwards any company using an 084, 087, 09 or 118  number will have to change the wording of their small print to make callers aware of both parts of the non-geographic call charge e.g. ‘Calls cost x pence per minute, plus your providers access charge.’

The end of the MAC

The broadband migration process is changing, which means no more hours on hold, multiple phone calls, countless emails and endless hair pulling!

How is the process changing?

From 20th June 2015 if you wish to move your broadband service all you need to do is give your line number and postcode to the new provider, then sit back and let them take care of the work for you. Your new provider will use the info you have provided to start the migration which will automatically inform your old supplier of your intent to move.

A few days later you will receive Notification of Transfer letters from both your new and old supplier, if you’ve changed your mind you have 10 working days to tell the new provider and stop the migration, if not after 10 working days the migration will complete and you will be with your new supplier.

Won’t this make slamming easier?

Slamming (being switched to a new supplier without your knowledge or consent) is something the industry and Ofcom have worked hard to prevent and thankfully now it is a very rare occurrence. While no system is fool proof, the new migration process uses a two letter process to make sure you are aware of any pending changes to your service. If you receive a letter from a new supplier that you have not asked to take over your service you should respond to the letter straight away to say that you have not consented to the move, you should also advise your existing supplier that you are not intending to move as they will be able to stop the migration on your behalf. You are also advised to report the incident to Ofcom via the form on their website.

Does this mean no more hard sell ‘Customer retention’ processes? 

Yes! When your existing supplier contacts you to confirm the service is migrating they are allowed to include any details on time still to run on your contract or exit fees that may be applicable but they are prohibited from including any special offers, discounts or promotions to encourage you to stay with them.

What if I wish to move supplier prior to 20th June?

If you wish to move before the changes come into effect on 20th June then you will need to go through the existing process of requesting a MAC from your current supplier and submitting it to your new supplier.

 

Horizon Maintenance

Please be advised that there will be planned maintenance on the network infrastructure supporting Horizon Call recording and Voicemail services on Sunday 26th April 00:00 – 02:00. The purpose of these planned works is to undertake maintenance on the network infrastructure supporting Horizon Call recording and Voicemail services. During these planned works voicemail will be unavailable and Call recording retrieval will be unavailable. These services will be available again immediately following these planned works. Horizon voice services should not be affected.

Protecting your Business from Phone Hacking with Fraud Monitor

Think of phone hacking and you probably think of the on going investigations into some of the country’s biggest newspapers, what you may not think of is criminals hacking into the phone systems of businesses to illegally generate revenue but this type of hacking is actually the largest source of Fraud in the UK and costs UK businesses over £1 billion a year.

Once access has been gained to a company’s telecom network, this can be used to illegally route calls, either to international numbers or even to generate revenue from premium rate numbers, all at the expense of the hacked company.

Usually after the companies have closed (often at weekends or bank holidays to help avoid detection) the hackers have gained access to the network and called premium rate (09) and special rate (0871) numbers which they earn revenue from. In some cases this revenue is used to fund organised crime and terrorist activity.

A case in America that made it to court uncovered an international crime gang that had access to over 2,500 PBX’s and had illegally routed calls to the value of $55million dollars. Another case of note, and probably the most high profile UK victim to date was New Scotland Yard.

The average call charges faced by a company hit by this type of hacking was around £10,000 in 2011 but this has been rising with many cases now costing businesses £20,000 in a single weekend. Some companies have even been hit with bills for over £80,000. In all cases it is the responsibility of the affected business to pay these charges and to then try and reclaim them through insurance or legal proceedings.

As you can see by the figures above, phone hacking is a serious crime which is why Deep Blue has now launched Fraud Monitor. Fraud Monitor protects your business by monitoring call patterns for suspicious activity and sending alerts to take action if anything suspicious is found.

How does Fraud Monitor work? Our systems will automatically analyse your call records everyday looking for any deviations and if fraud is suspected we will contact you immediately and arrange outbound call barring to stop any further charges being generated. If we are unable to contact you then we will suspend the service until we can confirm that the line is once again secure.

What else can be done? In all cases we advise affected parties to notify the police as soon as the hack is brought to their attention. The called numbers should also be reported to Ofcom and Phonepay Plus.
As with computer hacking, there are measures to reduce the risk of being hit, however, as fast as these measures close one door, the hackers find ways to open another.

One of the common ways access is gained is through services such as voicemail which allow you to dial into a network externally, but there are simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of this happening. Ensure all ways of accessing your network are password protected (just as you would put a password on your wireless internet network), change these passwords often, don’t share passwords, make passwords as long and complicated as possible (many hackers have sophisticated methods that can crack passwords 16 digits long) and keep all access codes secure (some victims had calls from individuals claiming to be from telephone companies asking for codes to do work on the network or to update their security).

It is also worth considering what kinds of calls you make; does your business need to be able to call premium rate or international numbers? If not, consider call barring features so if your network was compromised, it would be harder for extensive call charges to be built up.

If phone hacking is something you are concerned about or if you would like to discuss this further, please contact Rachel on 0333 240 9100 or at rachel.macleod@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

Washout summers and Openreach delays

The football is back in full swing, the schools are opening their doors ready for the new term, summer is winding down and we are getting wound up! From early year hosepipe bans to floods and some of highest levels of rain since records began in less than a few months, this summer has been a soggy one to say the least and it looks like the knock on effects of this unseasonal weather are set to be with us long after our (almost non-existent) tan lines have faded!

Floods, high winds and storms have afflicted many areas of the UK causing fault levels well above what would normally be expected for this time of year. Even here at Deep Blue we have not escaped unscaithed, having suffered a lightening strike earlier in August which caused quite a bit of damage and disruption (luckily our FeaturePlus Disaster Recovery plan was set up and ready to go!).

While Openreach are doing all they can to get all faults resolved as quickly as possible this is, to say the least, a mammoth task and engineers are having to be re-deployed across the country to restore service in some of the worst hit areas. The effect of this high workload is an increase in lead times for new line installs. At the moment some areas are seeing lead times of over 25 working days. As stated before, Openreach are doing all that they can to clear their workload and get everything back to something resembling normal (it would be nice if the weather could be a bit more co-operative!) and it is hoped that these lead times will start to decrease soon, but in the meantime we would advise anyone looking at adding new lines or moving site to allow extra time for these delays.

If you would like more information on current lead times in your area, disaster recovery set ups or would just like to know what it is like to be hit by lightening give us a call on 0333 240 9100 or email us at info@deepbluetelecom.co.uk

Advanced warning to our customers in 01423

There are planned exchange works scheduled on Wed 17th Aug that may affect some broadband users in the 01423 area. While the works are being carried out some users may experience a drop in service for 10-15 minutes. If you experience a loss of service for longer than this switch off your router, leave for 5 minutes and then restart it. If this does not resolve the issue then please contact the office on 0844 848 2300

Zen Broadband – Phishing Scam

Some Zen internet customers have reported getting emails claiming to be from Zen. The email states that their service will soon be terminated and gives them a click through link to go to if they do not want to lose their broadband connection.

This is not an email from Zen, it is a phishing scam designed to gather end user data, if any customers do receive this email they are advised NOT to click on the link or give out any of their details. Zen are currently investigating this issue.