OTA Update for July 2007

There are now 2.725 million unbundled LLU lines, 4.26 million WLR lines and 5.89 million telephone numbers using CPS

Service Quality remained relatively stable throughout the month despite a significant increase in repair work stack levels brought about by the extensive floods experienced across many parts of the UK. The fact that provisioning performance has been held stable against a backdrop of such extreme weather conditions and record levels of throughput is a significant achievement.

However, notwithstanding the above, the underlying mainstream provision and repair performance has stabilised at a level which is significantly short of target for both Repair (SMPF and MPF), and MPF Provisioning.

Service Level Agreement/Service Level Guarantees Review: Last month I reported that Ofcom had asked the OTA to help establish what Industry requires of Openreach in the SLA/ SLG components of contracts for LLU, WLR and Ethernet products that will create the best possible intent within Openreach to continuously improve quality. OTA worked closely with the CPs representatives and established what the Industry view was.

Since early June the OTA has been actively discussing and working with Openreach and Industry with a view to advising Ofcom of our view on the way forward.

OTA has been intensively engaged with Openreach in trying to move good intentions and agreed principles to a position where clear and measurable improvements are on the table that are likely to satisfy the CP community.

I am disappointed to report that this has taken longer than expected, however, the good intentions and hard work on all sides has now produced results. The Openreach Executive was able to signoff a package of upgraded SLA/SLGs. The OTA are still evaluating whether the package reflects ‘What Good Looks Like’ from a CP and OTA perspective.

The OTA has documented the CPs needs, the Principles agreed, and the details of the story so far and is in the process of preparing a report for Ofcom so they can decide on their next actions.

Integrated Improvement Plan: During the month, the Openreach Senior team presented their 12 month ‘Integrated Plan’ to the OTA Executive. This plan takes a ‘market’ view of required service level targets and is focused on achieving the original ‘2005’ targets. The scope of the plan is LLU & WLR and it provides an integrated view of planned improvements and developments in each of the following key areas:-

  • End to End Service Improvements
  • Systems stability improvements
  • Product development schedule

Overall, the plan was well received by the OTA Executive & its timely execution will be closely monitored by the OTA in the coming months.

The combined (MPF/SMPF) LLU Right First Time delivery of business as usual ( BAU) unbundled lines has remained stable averaging 92% (98% target). MPF continues to lag SMPF by approximately 10%.

An OTA KPI for Wholesale Line Rental (WLR2 and WLR3 combined) has now been defined and has been introduced in this months update (See WLR KPI).

Migrations Programme Board (MPB): the Headline Migrations KPI continues to track an improving trend and is currently on target. This trend will continue to improve providing all LLU CPs stakeholders complete their transition to EMP as planned and follow through on their actions to reduce Tag on the Line issues and to adopt the Simultaneous Provide process for Homemovers.

  • Tags on the line - OTA are working very closely with all the major CPs on a bilateral basis to review their plans to reduce the volume of ‘avoidable’ calls which are currently misdirected to the BTW Tags Help desk and to improve their capability to resolve such end user issues at 1 st Point of contact . The progress to date has been very disappointing but following a detailed (and frank) review at the latest MPB meeting there is renewed confidence that the plans currently on the table will deliver a significant improvement by the end of August.
  • Simultaneous Provide Process (for seamless ‘Homemovers’ and migrations away from MPF/Cable) - Most of the Sim-Provide process enhancements are now scheduled for delivery in December 07. As some CPs are using the existing process with some success, all other CPs are being actively encouraged by OTA to start using the process as soon as possible to ‘get their feet wet’ in readiness for when the ‘enhancements’ go-live in December 07 and the process can be used in volume..

LLU Bulk & Mass Migrations: Weekly Bulk Migration volumes in July have increased by 100% without any noticeable impact on Quality. However, as most of the Bulk and Business-as-Usual SMPF migrations are still handled via the Lisa tactical platform, the system has struggled to cope as it was not sized to handle this level of demand. Special measures have now been taken to augment the Lisa platform capacity to cope with the increased demand although this is likely to abate from the end of August as Bulk volumes drop back to their previous levels and transition to EMP progresses as planned.

LLU Assurance: No material change with MPF Repair performance (40 hour) continuing to lag SMPF by 15% with no indication that the gap is closing. Openreach recognise the need to fundamentally re-engineer the End to End repair process and these plans are now embodied in the new ‘Integrated Plan’ mentioned above.

BES Backhaul delivery continues to perform satisfactorily, although against low volumes.

LLU Comingling: Delivery performance to CCD remains on target although, despite very low volumes, delivery performance to CRD has dropped off in recent weeks.

WLR: Openreach have now circulated the proposed Release schedule for delivery of the full WLR3 PSTN Baseline functionality requirement as specified by Industry. Initial Industry response has been positive.

However, there are fresh concerns from industry regarding the WLR3-ISDN30 deliverable in R700 in December 07 in terms of its scope & design quality. OTA will be keen to get underneath these concerns as a matter of urgency as industry see no incentive to move away from the existing WLR2-based product.

EMP : Availability performance has continued to remain stable and has exceeded the SLA target for the last 2 months.

At the recent IT Directors Forum, Openreach have shared their plans to reduce the frequency and duration of scheduled outages and to dramatically improve the availability of Dialogue Services. These plans have been well received by Industry and the focus will now turn to ‘execution’ as soon as possible.

Separately, Openreach have shared with OTA their 12 month release plan and high-level scope therein. It is clear that there are many critical and potentially competing demands (i.e. Product enhancements vs. Service improvements vs. TSR Undertakings) which will need to be managed very carefully to ensure the right priorities are set and above everything else, EMP stability is not compromised.

The Strategic Systems Implementation Group (SSIG) has now been extended (beyond LLU) to oversee the smooth transition of WLR CPs onto EMP (WLR3).

First Touch Last Touch (FTLT) Provisioning: SMPF Performance has deteriorated slightly over the last month.

The reported Bulk Migrations performance has dropped significantly in the last 2 weeks and is due to late receipt of the electronic completion message which in turn is due to the ‘overload’ issue mentioned above regarding the Lisa tactical platform. The good news is that, in practical terms, the End-user impact has been minimal.

MPF performance has declined over the last month and is lagging SMPF by at least 10%. The primary reasons behind this are excessive ‘Dead-on arrivals’ due to poor frames quality, late frames completion and to a lesser extent, CP equipment issues. All of these issues are symptomatic of a complex End to End process which is prone to failure.

In conjunction with Industry, OTA have produced a SOR aimed at ‘industrialising’ the MPF processes and this has now been formally submitted to Openreach. The SOR articulates the case to re-engineer the MPF Processes whilst acknowledging that a number of initiatives are already underway which will deliver step improvements.

Sub Loop Unbundling (SLU): OTA has continued with the information gathering process looking at the potential for SLU. Contact has been made with BT Group and interested CPs to review their position and arrangements are in place to review the current product with Openreach. We are planning to hold our inaugural industry meeting early to middle September and will be contacting the interested CPs in due course.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  1. EMP Release Plans and Scope (LLU/WLR)
  2. EMP performance and CP adoption (LLU/WLR)
  3. Fit for Purpose Migrations processes and CP adoption;
  4. Plans to industrialise MPF processes
  5. BAU performance measurement, improvement and publication.
  6. Facilitation of the Implementation of a new SLA/SLG regime once agreement is reached.

Peter McD. Black

Executive Chairman