OTA2 Update for April 2009

At the end of April, the number of unbundled lines now stands at 5.84 million. There are 5.75 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 4.01 million.

Systems Developments - Prioritisation Review

Following the review undertaken with Industry during January, February & March 2009, Openreach presented their 18 month roadmap proposal to the OTA2 Executive and received broad agreement.

The proposal, as it stands, majors on all the top priority requirements identified by industry. This roadmap is now being used to support the wider discussions between BT and Ofcom regarding the possibility of extending the timescales for completing ‘systems separation’ (part of TSR Undertakings) in order that development resources may be re-focused in the most productive way. The final outcome of this negotiation will also be subject to formal Ofcom/Industry consultation and this process is due to commence in May.

A key element of the Openreach proposal is the Change Control process and associated governance. Openreach recognise the need for effective Industry participation in the change control process and this has been factored in. In practice it is inevitable that things will change, hence the need for effective change control to ensure quality decisions are taken and full transparency is maintained throughout.

Openreach have developed this process in line with the new Concept to Market (C2M) approach, which has been shared in outline with OTA2 Executive members and will be finalised through the industry forums throughout June.

EMP release consumption

One of the headline deliverables within the Roadmap is to ‘Reduce the cost of EMP release consumption ‘. To that end, following a series of bilateral meetings with various CPs, and some extensive analysis internally, Openreach hosted a ‘Technical Interface’ workshop (24th April) to socialise a number of possible solutions to the problem, stressing the point that there was no ‘silver’ bullet.
Although early days, the general feeling by the end of the workshop was that there were a number of credible options on the table which, subject to further development, could form the basis of an improved consumption model. A follow up workshop is being arranged.

Minimum Security Standards

In a previous update we reported on an initiative regarding the improvement of security processes within the UK’s telecoms infrastructure. Telecoms networks form a vital part of the national infrastructure and their importance is growing as they are increasingly relied upon by other networks, consumers, businesses and Government for their ongoing function. There is an assumption that each network operator should be free to offer services with whatever level of security and resilience they feel is appropriate. However, in the case where different operators make use of shared network elements and facilities, such as is the case in LLU-based competition, there are other factors to consider. It may be the case that the action, or inaction, of an operator offering low levels of service security and/or resilience may seriously undermine the ability of sharing operators to offer higher levels.

A “minimum standard” for security, developed by NICC was published as a baseline but set at a level which seeks to ensure that the associated costs do not become disproportionately high and that competition between operators is not affected. A Code of Practice has been agreed amongst LLUOs which commits these operators to implementing and maintaining the minimum security standard. This standard was distributed to LLUOs during the month and the majority have already been signed and returned to the OTA2. We will now commence work on implementation planning with these LLUOs.

Displaced Mobile Emergency Calls

As previously reported the OTA2 are engaged in running this project.

Functionality tests have been run by a number of the Network operators in their test bed environments, with good results. Further work is required to ensure there are no billing and mediation systems impacts. Discussion between the Network operators is also underway to determine the most suitable trial area to test the service before full scale rollout.

Call handling and especially Limited Service State (LSS) call identification is an issue and work to identify how this can be managed is underway.

WLR & LLU Process Fora

These two fora provide an excellent opportunity for CPs to collaborate directly with Openreach process design experts in validating the solutions proposed for new functionality in upcoming releases before they progress to the ‘development’ stage. Additionally, for new requirements, these groups will develop the initial ‘User Journey Stories’ which Openreach designers need before they can progress their solution designs.
The work of these groups will be vital in ensuring successful delivery of the 18 month roadmap mentioned earlier.
This work is essential in ensuring that the right things are developed in the correct priority and CPs are urged to make their attendance at this important forum a high priority.

Service Levels - Our KPI charts show current performance levels

  • 08/09 Staircase improvement targets – How did we do? - At the last OTA2 Executive, Openreach presented a detailed review of how they performed in meeting the agreed 08/09 service level targets with specific reference to the various enabling initiatives behind each step in the staircase & whether they delivered as expected.
  • Whilst ‘Lead to Cash’ process performance (i.e. Service Provision), achieved the agreed targets, the ‘Trouble to Resolve’ process (i.e. Repair) fell short because insufficient ‘enabling’ initiatives had been identified in time to bridge the performance gap by year end.
  • Targets for 09/10 – Openreach will be presenting the proposed service level targets for 09/10 at next OTA2 Executive meeting

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • 18 month Development Roadmap, including:
    • Implementation & change control
    • EMP consumption issues
    • Documentation issues
    • Data Integrity issues
  • WLR/LLU Process development
  • WLR3 Roadmap to achieve WLR2 parity
  • Best practice migrations processes & CP compliance
  • Service levels (LLU/WLR/Ethernet)
  • NGA
  • Minimum Security Standards
  • Displaced Mobile Emergency Calls


Rod Smith