Emergency telecommunication systems and the nbn network

There are potential risks associated with migrating your emergency telecommunication systems to the nbn™ network. We have summarised the information you need to help you maintain the operation of your lift emergency phones and monitored fire alarms.

The nbn™ network will soon replace most existing fixed phone and internet networks. The implementation of the nbn™ network will affect the operation of important emergency telecommunication systems such as:

  • ­lift emergency phones
  • monitored fire alarms
  • medical alarms
  • monitored security alarm systems

This information will help lift owners, operators or manufacturers, or building owners or managers maintain the operation of lift emergency phones and monitored fire alarms.

Information regarding medical and/or security alarms should be sought from relevant service providers.


The proper function of emergency telecommunication systems minimises the risk of serious injury or death to persons.

In NSW, emergency services and lift service providers rescue people trapped in lifts approximately 400 times every year so it is vital that emergency telecommunication systems such as lift emergency phones operate at all times.

If your emergency telecommunication systems are not operating as they are intended, you may be in breach of Work Health and Safety legislation.

If your premises has already been connected to the nbn network

Emergency telecommunication systems will not be automatically switched over to the nbn™ network when you change your fixed-line telephone and internet services.

Each fixed phone line that is dedicated to a lift emergency phone or monitored fire alarm must also be switched to the nbn™. Please contact your emergency telecommunication system service provider(s), to check if your emergency telecommunication systems:

  • are still working
  • are currently operating over the nbn™
  • will work during a power outage.

If your emergency telecommunication systems are not working, you will need to put in place interim solutions to manage the risks until a permanent solution is implemented.

If your emergency telecommunication systems are working, it may be because the existing copper-based public switched telephone network (PSTN) is yet to be disconnected. In such a case the risk remains that your emergency telecommunication systems will no longer work when the PSTN is disconnected.

Interim solutions - if your emergency telecommunication systems are not working

Interim solutions should consider all scenarios within business hours and outside business hours, including after hours service staff such as cleaners and security.

Discuss your options for switching your emergency telecommunication systems to the nbn™ or alternative network with your services provider(s).

You may choose to use a mobile phone located within the lift as a temporary lift emergency phone. If so, you should ensure there is adequate mobile reception within the lift, that the mobile phone is charged and the mobile phone will remain charged for up to two hours during a power outage. You may also need to consider the potential risk of theft or damage to the device.

If your premises is yet to be connected to the nbn network

You will need to identify the emergency telecommunication systems within your building including identifying the correct service phone number(s).

Discuss your options as soon as possible for switching your emergency telecommunication systems to the nbn™ or alternative network with your services provider(s).

Once you have decided on the most reasonably practicable solution, work with your service provider(s) to manage the migration process.

Upon completion of the migration process, check that all emergency telecommunication systems are operating properly and inform nbn that your services have been successfully migrated.

Continue to monitor your emergency telecommunication systems to ensure they are operating properly.

Power supply considerations
  • Equipment connected over the nbn™ network will not work during a power blackout.
  • The emergency telecommunication systems you install must take into consideration the potential effects of a power outage at the premises or in your local area.
  • Emergency telecommunication systems must continue to operate during power outages for a minimum prescribed time. For example, emergency lift phones should continue to operate for a minimum of 2 hours after a power outage.
  • Emergency telecommunication systems that operate over the nbn™ network should also be connected to secondary communications technology such as a mobile network connection. Your lift emergency phone and/or monitored fire alarm should automatically operate via the secondary communications technology during a power outage that affects the nbn™ network.

nbn have further information on power outages and the nbn™ network.

Tips on implementing a permanent solution for emergency telecommunication systems
  • You will most likely need to install separate solutions for each emergency telecommunication system. The solutions are likely to have minor but significant differences. These solutions are again different to those used for fixed line telephones and internet services.
  • Capabilities of devices vary whereby some devices can use the nbn™ network with a secondary pathway provided by mobile networks, whilst other devices operate over two or more separate mobile networks.
  • Seek assurance that the fixed line solutions proposed have been tested in nbn plug benches and proven to be nbn™ network compatible
  • If your solution uses a mobile network, ensure the signal strength will be adequate.
  • Use of mobile phone handsets in a lift car (different to an installed solution that operates over a mobile network) is unlikely to be a suitable permanent solution due to theft, vandalism and/or difficulties in identifying the lift location by a service provider.
  • Consider installing systems that are capable of self-checking the telecommunications signal.
  • Be aware there may be substantial costs involved in providing new emergency telecommunication systems in some situations.

Further information

For more information please call nbn on 1800 687 626 or visit www.communications.gov.au/fireandlift, or www.nbn™.com.au/fireandlift.

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