City financial firms given priority access to telephone network

City financial firms given priority access to telephone network

Large financial firms in the City of London are to be given access to priority telephone networks following the terrorist bombings on 7 July.

The disclosure was made in the annual report on business continuity published by the UK's tripartite financial authorities - HM Treasury, The Bank of England and Financial Services Authority.

The failure of mobile and land-line telephone networks following the July attack has prompted the government to provide City firms with wider priority access to the landline network from 2006 via the enhanced government telephone preference scheme. Firms signed up to the scheme will be given priority over all other non-999 traffic.

The report also says that a Web site set up by Tripartite Authorities to provide the financial sector with information and advice in a crisis has been relaunched because half the users thought it was not good enough.

The Financial Sector Continuity Web site - which was set up in the aftermath of the World Trade Centre attacks to enable regulators to communicate with financial market participants in the event of a major operational disruption - has been revamped because half the users felt the information given was not good enough.

The Web site was re-launched last month after the authorities surveyed 43 companies and found half of those that responded "considered the quality of information provided to be below their expectations".

Users wanted to see more information on the Web site and more frequently.

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