OTA Update for January 2008

There are now 3.931 million unbundled LLU lines and the indications are that demand remains strong as CP’s continue to implement their network strategies. There are 4.56 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS remains at 5.89 million.

It seems appropriate to begin this update by congratulating Openreach on the extremely successful deployment of the R700 software upgrade to the EMP platform, which took place over the weekend of 19th January. This was the largest and most complex release Openreach have undertaken to date and included a number of usability and efficiency improvements, which will help improve performance and the CP experience across both WLR and LLU products.

Worthy of particular praise was the very short downtime for the Dialogue Services which is critical to the ongoing operations of Openreach Customers.

The upgrade also provided new functionality with EMP ISDN30 delivered successfully along with a reduction to the current 7 working day cease lead time for SMPF lines, down to 3 working days. This will assist in our ongoing campaign to improve end user experience when moving home or changing providers through a reduction in Tags on the line

However, the very good news on R700 has been rather dampened by the disappointing news that further improvements to the migrations process we were promised in the next software build, R800 which is due in April 08, have been deferred by Openreach. We have no firm commitment as to when this important capability will be delivered and whilst it is difficult to quantify the full impact on the home mover process, it delays the point at which the migrations process becomes more efficient.

Also, we have still not received the anticipated information from Openreach on their development roadmap for WLR3 and therefore have no commitment on revised dates for the baseline. Without this information CP’s are unable to plan their own product development cycle as they can not be certain when functionality they require to meet their business needs will be available. We are continuing to push for this information and will provide a further update next month.

Sub Loop Pricing – Openreach published their pricing for SLU Plan & Build on 30th January which is a good step forward as CP’s consider their own plans for next generation access deployments, however without further pricing information on line rentals and so on it is not possible for plans to be constructed with the required level of certainty. Openreach have committed to address this shortfall as quickly as possible and again we will provide an update next month.

LLU Service Levels: Actual service levels are mostly on track apart from MPF/SMPF 20-hour repair which still lags the agreed staircase improvement targets embedded within the integrated plan. Whilst Openreach continue to focus on improving the existing 20hr Repair product, a separate workstream has been set up to re-define a ‘Business Repair’ product which actually meets Industry’s requirements and which Openreach can consistently deliver.

The LLU End-User Right First Time delivery of MPF/SMPF unbundled lines continues to remain stable averaging 97% throughout January. This metric represents an ‘industry aggregate’ view of SMPF/MPF delivery performance & is derived from data feeds collected directly from CPs.

LLU Integrated Improvement Plan: At the OTA2 Executive meeting in February, Openreach will be presenting the Staircase improvement plans which will specify the additional improvement initiatives which are planned to achieve the ultimate targets agreed with Industry (i.e. 98% - Provision, 95% - Repair) at some point during 2008.

Migrations Programme Board (MPB): The Headline Migrations KPI relating to Tags is slightly distorted due to the abnormal transaction volumes handled over the Xmas/New Year break but, that aside, the underlying trend has flattened off over the last 2 months. The KPI represents the ratio of absolute Tag related complaints to absolute transaction volumes handled in the week. Recognising the need to re-establish the positive momentum which existed during Oct/Nov’07, and to stimulate the ‘final push’, OTA2 has proposed a set of Staircase reduction targets for each SP to achieve by the end March’08. All the major CPs have now signed up to meeting these targets.

As mentioned above, there were a large number of process enhancements enabled as a result of the successful R700 upgrade and these will also help to materially reduce Tags in the coming months.

Unfortunately, as mentioned in the summary, the planned deployment of ‘flexible cease’ has once again been deferred by Openreach and further delays the delivery of widely anticipated benefits in terms of reducing the incidence of Tags and increasing operational efficiency within Openreach. This development was originally scheduled for deployment in May’07 but this and all subsequent attempts have been aborted at the last moment due to reasons which are difficult to accept and/or understand.

OTA2 & Industry have escalated their concerns to Openreach and hope to receive a revised plan in the very near future.

The Ofcom Call Centre KPI which tracks both Mac & Tag related complaints from End Users is moving in the wrong direction and is the subject of further investigation between Ofcom and the offending CPs.

LLU Comingling & Backhaul delivery continues to perform satisfactorily, although weekly volumes remain quite low.

WLR Service Levels: Service levels for both Provisioning performance and Repair performance remains below targets and the flat trend continues. Openreach have been developing the WLR Integrated Improvement Plan over the past month and ensuring that the targets are cascaded through the business and built into business objectives. It is anticipated that this will provide the focus to drive the service levels up. OTA2 continues to monitor and work with Openreach to drive the Integrated Plan.

EMP: All LLU CPs have now successfully on-ramped to EMP allowing commencement of the long awaited ‘sunset’ plan for tactical provisioning platforms. This represents a major successful milestone and is the culmination of a 2-3yr programme of intensive collaboration between Openreach & Industry. Congratulations to all concerned.

In-Life Availability performance has continued to remain stable.

Sub Loop Unbundling (SLU): As noted above the pricing for the Plan and Build element of the current Sub Loop product has been released, the Connection and Lines pricing remains outstanding and the OTA2 continues to press for early visibility as it is extremely difficult for CPs to plan with any certainty in the absence of full information.

The work on re-engineering the existing Sub Loop processes has been completed to the extent of enabling a meaningful trial. We will continue to challenge the existing processes and product, as well as monitor feedback and gain input from the trial deployment being run in London and the South Yorkshire Digital Region project when it commences. The lessons learned so far are being fed back to the Co-ordination group.

A significant element remaining to be developed is the strategy for a mass roll out product and process. The EMP system would seem to be the most suitable platform to host the industrialised product, but finding a suitable development and implementation slot is a huge challenge. OTA2 will continue to review the options with Openreach to find the most pragmatic and timely solution.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • WLR3 Baseline Plans
  • Reduction in Tags on the Line
  • Fit for Purpose Migrations processes & CP adoption;
  • The Implementation of the Integrated Improvement Plans from Openreach.
  • BAU performance measurement, improvement and publication
  • Industrialisation of Sub Loop Unbundling.



Rod Smith   Peter McD. Black