OTA Update for August 2007

There are now 2.997 million unbundled LLU lines, 4.33 million WLR lines and 5.81 million telephone numbers using CPS

Service Quality has remained relatively stable in percentage terms throughout the month despite a significant increase in Bulk Migration volumes co-incident with the additional clear-up activity brought about by the recent floods

Unfortunately, the underlying failure rate for mainstream provisioning and repair performance continues at an unacceptably high level & remains substantially short of agreed targets. The areas which need particular attention are:-

  • Repair (SMPF, MPF & WLR) – Average 20-30% failure rate
  • MPF Provisioning – Average 20% failure rate

Service Level Agreement/Service Level Guarantees Review:

Last month I reported that Ofcom had asked the OTA to help establish with Industry and Openreach a more meaningful set of SLA/SLG components within contracts for LLU, WLR and Ethernet products that will create the best possible incentive within Openreach to continuously improve quality in provisioning and repair timescales and processes.

OTA worked closely with the CPs representatives with the aim of establishing a consensus Industry view and since early June we have actively been discussing the findings with Openreach and Industry prior to advising Ofcom of our view on the way forward.

I am very disappointed to report that, although we had some optimism at the time of the last report, and despite the significant progress that had been made there were still areas that did not match Industry’s aspirations. Industry therefore decided that the whole package in its present form was not acceptable to them and therefore C&W, on behalf of Industry, wrote to Ofcom to formally ask for their intervention. OTA stands ready to facilitate further discussions and implementation plans when the time is right.

The OTA view was that there were substantial benefits to Industry within the package that was tabled, especially for LLU and EMP; however our view was conditional on very close monitoring of the implementation plans and progress by the OTA. The OTA recommended acceptance of the package subject to some clarification to demonstrate real improvements to the WLR claims processes. Unfortunately, clarification was not forthcoming from Openreach in the timescales required and the situation was compounded as the CP’s for whom Ethernet is a component of their business offerings were also unhappy about the offer in terms of both provision and repair SLGs.

The OTA has documented the CPs needs, the Principles that are agreed, and the items which require resolution and prepared a report for Ofcom that they can review when considering their subsequent actions.

Evolution of the OTA Management Team:

The Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has appointed Rod Smith as its Chief Operating Officer. He has joined the OTA from 4th of September.

Over the next few months Rod will be immersing himself in all the OTA2 project areas, in particular, engaging with our numerous stakeholders and incrementally taking over executive functions from Peter Black. Peter will continue to chair the executive meetings for the foreseeable future, however he plans to have a significantly reduced involvement over time as Rod gets up to speed.

Rod’s most recent post was as Managing Director of telecoms solutions provider, Marconi plc from 1990 to 2006. He brings with him a wealth of experience having worked with many of the telecommunications operators in the UK. In addition to being responsible for the direct business partnerships with Marconi’s UK customers, Rod oversaw several major product development programmes and managed field operations in the UK. Rod was a member of the Marconi executive board and served on several operational boards within the group.

Following the sale of Marconi, Rod took a career break of 12 months to pursue some private interests including sailing a yacht across the Atlantic and competing in a number of offshore races.

Integrated Improvement Plan: As previously reported the OTA Executive will be closely monitoring Openreach progress in implementing their 12 month (07/08) ‘Integrated Plan’. Industry expectation is that the initiatives contained within this plan will ‘kick-start’ the step improvements needed to progress beyond the apparent Service level ‘plateau’ which has been reached currently.

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%. This metric represents an ‘industry aggregate’ view of SMPF/MPF delivery performance & is derived from data feeds collected directly from CPs.

Migrations Programme Board (MPB): the Headline Migrations KPI continues to track an improving trend and is currently on target. Steady progress is being made across each of the 3 primary workstreams:-

  • Tags on the line - Whilst the volume of avoidable Tag calls has reduced during August, the improvement has not been as great as expected. CP-specific improvement plans are now beginning to emerge but the full effect has yet to materialise. OTA continue to work very closely with all the major CPs on a bilateral basis to review their progress.
  • Simultaneous Provide Process (for seamless ‘Homemovers’ and migrations away from MPF/Cable) - Work continues to encourage all CPs to start using the existing process as soon as possible in readiness for when the ‘enhancements’ go-live in December 07.
  • EMP Adoption – Most LLU CPs are either using EMP or have plans in place to do so by end-Sept’07. This is a major enabler towards ‘seamless End User migrations’.
  • OTA have now extended the SSIG forum (Strategic Systems Implementation Group) to help facilitate successful EMP/WLR3 adoption by the WLR community over the next 12-18 months

LLU Bulk & Mass Migrations: Weekly Bulk & Mass Migration throughput volumes during August have been the highest ever with no noticeable impact on Quality.

LLU Assurance: No material change overall with MPF Repair performance (40 hour) continuing to lag SMPF by 10-15% 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.

LLU Comingling & Backhaul delivery continues to perform satisfactorily, although against low volumes.

WLR: Whilst Provisioning performance has been stable throughout the month, Repair performance has been running substantially below par & is the subject of further investigation by OTA.

EMP: Availability performance has continued to remain stable .Openreach have recently presented their detailed plans to significantly improve the level of IT Service Management provided to the CP community as this area has been an ongoing cause for concern amongst CPs. Progress against this plan will be monitored closely by OTA.

First Touch Last Touch (FTLT) Provisioning: As already mentioned SMPF/MPF Performance has flattened off at a level which is significantly short of agreed targets.

MPF remains a particular concern as it has consistently lagged SMPF by approx. 10%.

An SOR aimed at ‘industrialising’ the MPF processes has been produced and this now awaits formal response from Openreach to trigger the steps improvements needed.

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, BT Openreach 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 soon, (it is delayed slightly due to Mark Dalziel’s baby arriving) and will be contacting the interested CPs in due course.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  1. EMP Release Plans & Scope (LLU/WLR)
  2. EMP performance and CP adoption (LLU/WLR)
  3. Fit for Purpose Migrations processes & 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 the way forward is defined


Peter McD. Black

Executive Chairman