I had a EBB fitted early in April because our land line is VOIP and subject to the Hub 3 going down in a power outage. I was given a PAYG card for the SIM in the EBB and told to take it to a top-up shop and put money on it. Since then I have been trying to find out why I can't register the card on VirginMobile so that I can check if it needs topping up. Virgin help is of no use because either the mobile part wants to sell me a pay monthly SIM or says it not their problem. Going to Broadband telephony support is no help either. I tried to set up an online account for the EBB SIM but couldn't because there is no way the IVR can ping a phone. The only instructions provided are the technical ones to modify the Burnside device. If that device is switched on and a call is made to a mobile phone it is connected through the mobile network and reduces the balance on the SIM. If the call is made to a land line it is directed through the Hub 3.
Fortunately on the occasion I needed Emergency help one mobile was charged and we had a signal; which we can't always guarantee. Making an emergency call on a mobile set to Emergency Calls only releases all the other numbers on the phone. Does the same happen on an EBB, or do I need to keep topping it up?
The EBB SIM card cannot be topped up its purpose is too make only emergency calls to 999 - "Emergency Backup Lines are only available in Purple areas (check page 3) and, in the event of power or networkoutage, provide continuous access to 999 but not to other non-emergency numbers. Connected devices (like securityor personal alarms or health monitors) that use the phoneline will not be supported by the Emergency Backup Lineand won’t work during a power/network outage.You should check with your device supplier whetherthis is appropriate for your needs."
Thanks for the info Mike. I would never have found that location after my interaction Virgin Media. What surprised me is that the Installation Engineer told me to put credit on the card. The online instructions (that I found at this location https://www.manualslib.com/manual/852779/Burnside-Tx2.html) for the Burnside unit are at odds with "emergency calls only". Apparently in addition to the emergency call Nos the unit will use the VoIP line for calls to fixed lines and the mobile SIM for calls to mobiles. Nothing was said about needing a hard wired phone to make emergency calls during a power outage; although there is a thread about that in the Community. That raises an additional issue about there being no fixed point to plug that phone in. In an emergency I would not want to be disconnecting a digital system from the Burnside unit to plug in a wired handset.
What concerns me about this is that those of us who have hidden disabilities do not always understand tech speak. For me a phone is a tangible object while a phone line connects it to an exchange.
Yes a phone line does connect to an exchange the issue a lot of people on different providers will be having is that by the end of 2025 a lot of the exchanges will be closing as the whole phone system is going down the same route of using a digital system.
Although that is the unit that Virginmedia are using it is a customized build and does not have the same functions the way the Virginmedia version of the unit works is emergency calls only and the SIM is built in, and will connect to any mobile network to give the emergency function.
The Virginmedia EBB will make all calls via the digital system when the line is operating, it is only when your landline is not working will the EBB kick into action but as already stated only for 999 calls.
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The Burnside Unit installed for me seems to work differently to what you have described. The unit installed has a standard sized SIM, which I could remove, fitted and visible when I remove the cover. I was given a PAYG SIM pack by the engineer and watched him remove the SIM from the pack before installing it. A phone number is displayed on the re-charge card. If this unit should only connect for emergency calls when my Hub has no access to the PSTN why would I need to charge the SIM?
In addition I disconnected my digital phone system and attached a fixed wire phone. I was able to dial my own mobile, obviously not my home phone. However, I feel in a bit of a quandary because what I experience is not what a person, with extensive knowledge of telephony, is explaining to me.
The concern our exchange raises for me is the lack of clarity and information provided by Virgin Media about this facility. If that information is somewhere on the Virgin Media website or within the Community how do the elderly and those of us who have suffered brain damage, in whatever way, find the answers?
I have looked into this and you don't need to top up your emergency backup line, this should be enabled to call 999 without the need to get the sim card topped up.
You do need a handset to be plugged into the ebul to enable this to work as it should, the engineer that fitted this should have explained this at the point of install and I'm really not sure why you have been told that you need to top this up.
The EBUL unit would need to be charged not the sim, so that it could work during a power cut.
Did the engineer leave the information sheet about the unit after he left your house?
Thanks Steven_L for picking this up so quickly. I must confess I don't recall receiving an information sheet; I am reluctant to say I didn't because of Stroke damaged memory. All I recall is being told to put money on the SIM card which I did (£20.00). As a result of my lack of knowledge, and still being inquisitive, I have raised a complaint to be pushed up to Board level. Maybe if I had received that information sheet I might not have started chasing windmills. My experience of this whole process has left Virgin Media in a poor light. I'm glad I didn't relay on the equipment 10 days ago when we needed Emergency Services. Fortunately my mobile picked up a signal and my 111 call connected, I needed advice first. Interestingly had my access have been limited to Emergency calls all my phone numbers became accessible. Even within Virgin some support staff use EBB while other use EBUL.
You may have seen in my exchange with Mike that I have been able to phone my own mobile, after disconnecting my digital phones. There is another issue here in that during a power outage any user of digital phones would have to find and plug in a fixed phone. I believe it is necessary to install a master socket after the Burnside unit to enable a fixed handset to remain connected.
Sorry if this sounds a bit of a ramble but I feel that Virgin Media needs a sharp boot at their 6 o'clock. However, I am impressed by the majority of staff who have tried to help.