Berne, 24 August 2017
Migrating from traditional fixed-network telephony to IP (Internet Protocol) telephony will take alpine businesses and SAC chalets in Switzerland into the age of digital communication. Following the switch from analogue to digital technology, a remote power supply for the traditional telephone line will no longer be available. The IP telephone line requires a router - which requires power from the local power unit. This is not part of the basic telco service mandate.
It is important to Swisscom and the alpine associations that alpine businesses and SAC chalets in remote locations also have access to a basic service provision. To this end, therefore, Swisscom is partnering with the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) and Swiss Alpine Economy Association (Schweizerischer Alpwirtschaftlicher Verband - SAV) to jointly ensure communication across Switzerland in remote locations. The Swiss Group for Mountain Regions (Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für die Berggebiete - SAB) played a key role in forging the cooperation and is supporting technical aspects of the implementation. Swisscom is providing one-off funding as part of its commitment to the joint venture. The SAC and SAV will be responsible for clarifying the local power unit needs of the alpine businesses and SAC chalets based on a defined list of criteria and will also coordinate the necessary measures. Swisscom will supply the appropriate telco infrastructure technology required for basic service provision and manage the migration of the alpine businesses and SAC chalets to IP technology.
Thomas Egger, National Councillor and Director of the Swiss Group for Mountain Regions (SAB) is very optimistic about the arrangement: "I am delighted with this mutual solution. It is important that Swisscom continues to maintain the basic service in mountain regions during the migration to IP. The cooperation is a measure of Swisscom’s commitment to the Swiss alpine economy and a signal to alpine businesses that they will remain online and keep pace with technological progress."
President of the SAC, Françoise Jaquet, explains: "A stable communication link is a lifeline for our chalets. I am confident that the cooperation of Swisscom and SAC will safeguard the future of the SAC chalets in the IP age and support the development of the alpine region and mountain sports."
Alpine businesses in remote locations affected by the IP migration can contact SAV to request assistance with the migration to IP telephony. For its part, SAC is to launch a survey of its chalets in order to clarify needs in detail. Based on this information, the associations will draft a detailed catalogue of criteria to define procedure and implementation of the necessary measures. As soon as the criteria and specific implementation measures have been defined, the SAC and SAV associations will liaise accordingly.
Conventional fixed-network telephony is over a 100 years old and no longer caters for the needs of our customers and the Swiss business community. Swisscom’s migration to IP telephony, which has been ongoing now for many years, creates the technological platform for the digitisation of the Swiss economy; Swisscom invests approximately CHF 1.7 billion annually in network expansion and modernisation. Communication companies are migrating to forward-looking IP technology around the world. More than 75% of customers – that is more than 1.7 million people – are already enjoying the benefits of IP telephony. Swisscom is currently in the process of migrating the outdated infrastructure to IP at specific locations. From early 2018, customer lines in larger regions of Switzerland will be fully migrated to IP to help drive the phasing out of the old infrastructure in those areas.