In the event of an electrical power outage, your voice service (including your access to 911/E911 and any medical and security monitoring services that depend on it) may be unavailable if a battery backup is not installed, fails or is exhausted after several hours.
It is recommended that subscribers consider their technology’s requirement and purchase DC Power battery backup units if voice services are required during an extended power failure. Ultimately, you have an obligation to ensure that the required equipment is connected to electrical power at all times and that you monitor battery health. We are not liable to you if you experience an interruption of service due to power outages, including failure due to the absence or insufficiency of battery backup power or an outage affecting our network, with the exception of any applicable service or billing credits. We do not guarantee uninterrupted voice service even to customers that have working backup batteries or other power supplies. In some instances, such as during a weather event, our network may experience other problems that would prevent normal operation of your services even if you supply backup power to your devices.
If you are not certain which type of technology your voice service uses, please contact our customer service team for assistance.
Please refer to the battery and backup guidelines* below, based on the service to which you subscribe.
Traditional Landline Over Copper
These voice services come directly from centralized equipment with a small electrical current on the copper line. Our centralized equipment has large backup batteries and gas-powered backup generators that should keep the line-powered voice service itself working for multiple days. Rural customers are typically fed from remote units outside the city limits. We place backup generators at these units during extended outages. It is possible that our servicemen cannot reach these remote units (deep snow, for example), in which case electricity for the voice units would fail, and voice service, including 911 would not work.
With traditional phone services, you’ll still be able to use any corded phone in your house, even if the electricity goes out, as long as we are able to maintain power at our central and remote units. Cordless phones, on the other hand, require electricity to operate. If you have one of these phones, you won’t be able to use it without an additional battery backup.
There are two devices that have been placed on your property to provide you with this service. An Optical Network Terminal (ONT) and an accompanying 8-hr Battery Backup Unit (BBU) have been placed on the inside of your home. The battery back-up unit is very important because during an electrical power outage, it powers your ONT which enables your communication services. The battery back-up plugs into an existing standard 120v outlet.
You are responsible for monitoring the battery within the battery back-up unit enclosure. A typical rechargeable battery will last about 8 hours on standby power. The battery backup should give you approximately 6 hours of talk time.*
However, it is important to periodically check back up batteries just like you do the batteries in your smoke detectors. Each Battery Backup Unit (BBU) enclosure has a battery indicator light that will serve as an indication that the battery needs to be replaced. You may also hear a persistent beeping from the unit when the batteries need replacement. Please call us. We will replace these 8-hour batteries for you at no charge. You should not replace this battery yourself. Our technicians will need to verify proper functionality of the battery backup unit as part of the battery replacement process.
If you feel that is not enough time, you may extend your standby power by purchasing a 24-hour battery from our office. During a power outage, if you wish to conserve battery power for making and receiving necessary calls, such as emergency or 911 calls, you should avoid making unnecessary calls and not use Giant Internet services during the outage.
Digital Voice over Coax
Broadband connectivity is a requirement of all digital voice products. Most of our Digital Phone services are delivered via a cable modem service, which rides on our coaxial cable network. Our coaxial cable network is divided into sections called nodes. Nodes have backup power. Generally, this power only lasts 2 hours if the commercial electricity is out. This is the extent of 911 calling access for this service. Extended node power is available in limited areas.
In addition, you will need an EMTA (embedded multimedia terminal adopter) to operate your Digital Phone Service. If the power goes out, the EMTA will shut down any non-voice data services to keep the phone line alive as long as the battery lasts. The EMTA's internal battery will provide up to 4 hours standby power for the unit, if the node has power to deliver the broadband connection. EMTA batteries should be replaced every 2-3 years. The batteries can be found at our office but are not available at retail electronics stores.
Power for Hosted Voice Phone Systems
It is the business customer’s responsibility to provide adequate battery backup for its telecommunications services. Hosted voice telephones do not have an internal battery backup. Broadband connectivity for hosted voice phone systems is dependent of the type of broadband connection used for underlying support. Some customers utilize redundant circuits to support their voice services. Please contact a member of our Business Solutions support team or call Technical Support at (800) 346-9084 if you are uncertain about how your hosted voice broadband is supported.
*These limitations to voice service do not address other powered equipment in your home or business. If you want anything that plugs into an electrical outlet to function, such as a computers, routers, or cell phone chargers, they will also need battery backup. Battery lives stated within this article are estimates and may vary, based on average usage during a power failure.