Given how critical these services are to people, that's a discussion worth having.
Which services are the critical ones?
Ofcom are somewhat interested, and place some requirements on a telco:
General condition 3 is "PROPER AND EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF THE NETWORK", and specifies:
“The Communications Provider shall take all necessary measures to maintain, to the greatest extent possible:
(a) the proper and effective functioning of the Public Communications Network provided by it at all times, and
(b) in the event of catastrophic network breakdown or in cases of force majeure the fullest possible availability of the Public Communications Network and Publicly Available Telephone Services provided by it, and
(c) uninterrupted access to Emergency Organisations as part of any Publicly Available Telephone Services offered.”
That's for voice, though, not data.
So the intention is that a telco has to keep the voice network running to the fullest possible availability
even in catastrophic circumstances or when pleading force majeure.
I'm not convinced that Sky or TalkTalk follow this principle. Not if a fence post can take out the service for 32,000 subscribers.
The last clause is the strongest - making emergency service access (999) available uninterrupted
- and is clearly not happening.
I agree that there's a discussion worth having here. Just where does Ofcom draw the line over condition 3?
As you say, though, most people don't appreciate the importance of resilience ... including, it seems, Sky's network planners. Joe Public likely just assumes that Sky and TalkTalk provide the same resilience as BT for voice, and that broadband resilience follows alongside the voice service.