OTA Update for March 2008


At the end of March the number of unbundled lines now stands at 4.299 million and the indications are that demand remains strong. There are 4.67 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS dropped slightly to 5.85 million.

In starting this month’s update, I would like to confirm the OTA2 Management change that we have previously mentioned. Peter Black has been Executive Chairman of the OTA since its inception some 4 years ago. In order to pursue other projects and opportunities, initially in managing the number portability project for Ofcom, Peter recruited me as his potential replacement last summer with a view to stepping down from OTA2 at the end of March this year. Consequently I have now taken over full responsibility from 1st April.

I would like to register my appreciation of the achievements that Peter and the OTA have made in such a short time. When he was appointed the number of LLU lines was in the low tens of thousands, and those brave enough to attempt to build businesses on LLU were frustrated by the lack of process and structure behind the products. Today we have more than 4 million LLU lines and the number is growing by tens of thousands per week. Peter has made an enormous contribution to that success, and I would like to congratulate him and wish him success in everything he does going forward.

WLR3 Roadmap - The final baseline plan is still awaited from Openreach. However, progress has been made on moving the roadmap forward. The key issue around the availability of the roadmap is that some CPs remain reluctant to adopt WLR3, as they believe its capabilities are not yet at the point where they see significant benefit over the existing WLR2 product. During recent discussions it is evident that, although there will still be functionality gaps, that tipping point is reached with the Release 900 software upgrade scheduled in July 2008.

As reported previously, it is anticipated that the plan will be firmed up and developed further by the end of April through a collaborative process between the WLR Commercial Group, CPs and Openreach.

Sub-Loop Unbundling – During March OTA2 facilitated a workshop with representatives from Openreach and interested CPs to discuss a resolution to the apparent impasse that had developed around the information required to create detailed business plans for the deployment of next generation Sub-Loop products. Openreach have met their commitments in respect to the current product family and have published their updated pricing during March. However, they are reluctant to invest significant money and resource to undertake further development of products and pricing in the absence of any viable forecast demand from CPs, whilst CPs have generally felt frustrated at what they perceive as a lack of commitment to a product they deem potentially an important part of their portfolio going forward. They believe that they are unable to forecast as they have insufficient information on Openreach strategy and pricing. This meeting was able to agree a set of pricing and strategy assumptions that will allow the CP business plans to be created in order for them to make informed investment decisions

Ethernet – We have taken part in several discussions with both Openreach and the CP community in relation to Ethernet products and services. I also attended a very good Ethernet Forum hosted and chaired by Openreach where they informed their customers of developments and performance statistics in relation to the backhaul and access portfolios. A specific agenda item was added to the OTA2 Executive meeting to discuss the subject in detail, and it was evident from that discussion that there is some concern among CPs that processes in provisioning and development were not as efficient as they could be. Openreach were unable to comment directly to the specific examples raised without an opportunity to investigate, but did point out that many of the issues around provisioning would be impacted by the requirement for access to customer premises and the requirement in many cases for wayleaves. The Executive meeting agreed that OTA2 should facilitate further discussion and propose a way forward.

LLU Service Levels: Provisioning performance has been generally stable throughout the month although there was a specific systems issue which negatively impacted MPF delivery performance for a day. Refer to Right First Time and First Touch Last Touch.

  • LLU 40hr Repair has maintained an improving trend although LLU 20hr Repair remains a problem with SMPF and MPF repair performance averaging 75% and 65% respectively over the last 4-6 months, with no discernable positive trend in sight. Disappointingly, at our last OTA2 Executive meeting Openreach indicated that they do not anticipate this situation improving in the coming months despite previous reassurances to the contrary. That said, Openreach fully acknowledge CPs concerns that the existing product performance is wholly unacceptable and have undertaken to go back to the drawing board and return with a Plan for the next Executive meeting.
  • Repeat faults continue to be a major issue and are being addressed through various workstreams under the stewardship of the Industry Service Management forum.
  • EMP Systems Availability Performance for the month was negatively impacted due to a number of isolated incidents. One of these incidents arose as a result of some ‘planned activity’ which introduced an unforeseen fault that, in turn, impacted ‘Repair’ performance. The good news is that the ‘planned’ activity has introduced much needed resilience and geographic disaster recovery to the overall EMP systems architecture.

Integrated Improvement Plan/RFT: The Plan & its associated targets are in the process of being cascaded within Openreach.

Migrations Programme Board (MPB):

  • Headline Migrations KPI relating to Tag calls – Favourable trend maintained - primarily due to continuing gradual decline in Tag calls (numerator) against a relatively flat (but healthy) weekly Transaction volume (denominator). Latest KPI achievement is 1.8% vs 1% target.
  • Migrations Code of Practice - A new ‘Migrations Code of Practice’ has been produced and will be launched in April 08.

    This Code of Practice provides an authoritative & comprehensive reference for CPs to use in identifying the Best Practice processes to be used by their respective operations in handling the full range of End User migration/home mover scenarios which can arise.
  • New Industry-Wide Support operating model – A sub-project is now well underway to establish a new Industry-Wide support operating model (by end April 08) whereby Service Providers will provide 1st/2nd line support for End-Users in the first instance, with 3rd line support continuing to be provided (for SP agents only) by the existing BT specialist Tags help-desk.
  • Programme Plan – the key remaining elements of the Plan are:-
    • Industry to fully establish the new 1/2/3rd line Industry wide support model
    • CPs to fully adopt the enhanced Simultaneous Provide process as soon as possible.
    • Openreach to fully deploy Flexi-Cease
    • CPs to adopt Flexi-Cease
    • CPs to continuously enhance 1st/2nd line support capability
  • Headline Migrations KPI relating Ofcom MACs/Tags Calls – The adverse trend has been arrested. The MAC component of this KPI is being followed up by Ofcom with specific Service Providers under GC22.

LLU Co-mingling & 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.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • WLR3 Baseline Plans
  • Reduction in Tags on the Line
  • Fit for Purpose Migrations processes & CP adoption
  • LLU Fault rates
  • The Implementation of the Integrated Improvement Plans from Openreach.
  • Service Level performance monitoring and improvement and publication
  • Industrialisation of Sub-Loop Unbundling
  • Improvements to forecasting processes



Rod Smith