OTA2 Update for June 2009

At the end of June, the number of unbundled lines now stands at 5.96 million. There are 5.97 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 3.93 million.

Product Development Roadmap - The pace picks up!

The final Product development roadmap proposal has been submitted to Ofcom and is a key component of the wider consultation process regarding the TSR Undertakings Review which Ofcom published on 29th May 2009 (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/btundertakings/).The window for CP responses to Ofcom’s document closes 10th July. The conclusion of this consultation process is planned for the end of August.

In the meantime, Openreach have assigned the necessary development resources, at its own risk, prior to the outcome of Ofcom’s consultation, based on the fact that the proposed roadmap largely reflects what their customers asked for as part of the industry-wide prioritisation review undertaken earlier in the year.

Whilst most of the industry commitments are planned for delivery over the next 18 months (EMP Releases 1200, 1300, 1400), they do require a significant level of collaboration with Industry stakeholders at this early stage, to make sure requirements are fully specified and understood. If this is not done properly, past experience would suggest the end deliverable is unlikely to meet CPs’ expectations. This risk was discussed at our recent OTA2 Executive meeting and all CPs took on board the importance of nominating individuals to participate in the various workshops. OTA2 will work with all parties to ensure the most effective collaboration is achieved.

At present the bulk of the collaboration activity is taking place across a number of regular Industry fora (such as the LLU & WLR Process Fora) and specific focus workshops such as the ‘Technical Interface Forum’ which has been particularly effective in generating a number of possible options designed to improve the EMP Consumption model.

With the summer holiday season almost upon us, it will be a particular challenge for all parties to maintain the required level of engagement needed to ensure successful delivery at the end of the day.

Unfortunately the new Openreach ‘Product Development and Launch’ process has not yet been communicated to industry as it is still being finalised internally. A major element of the new process is ‘change control’ and CPs have expressed concerns that changes may not be effectively managed as originally promised. Openreach have explained that the final touches will be competed by end of June and the new process will be communicated shortly thereafter.

Major ‘Infrastructure’ Programmes

  1. Improve EMP Consumption Model
  2. Improve Documentation (i.e. Product, Process & Systems)
  3. Improve Data Integrity

The pace of activity within each of these major programmes is really beginning to pick up with various workstreams already underway. Although the deliverables are spread across a timeline which runs out to end 2010, the combined effect of delivering all 3 successfully has the potential to positively transform the trading model for industry, and ultimately consumers.

We will be providing a more detailed progress update for each of these programmes in our monthly updates over the next few months.

CP Transition from WLR2 to WLR3 – At our recent OTA2 Executive, Openreach reported that the WLR3 Product establishment programme was now well underway with approx 200 CPs either going through the process (i.e. in-flight) or already completed (i.e. on-board). However, Openreach reinforced the point that all remaining WLR CPs who had yet to register their transition plans should do so in the very near future to ensure they complete all the necessary work well before the WLR2 platform is turned off at the end of March 2011. (http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/products/wlr/wlr2_withdrawal/wlr2_withdrawal.do)

Retain Directory Entries – The WLR community have previously raised concerns that this capability (i.e. Retain Directory Entries) was pulled from R1100 (July’09) without explanation. At a subsequent meeting with Ofcom on 15 May, Openreach took an action to respond to Ofcom and the OTA2 on the possible development of an interim tactical solution for WLR3 directories. Since that meeting Openreach has undertaken an extensive gap analysis to examine the differences between directories offerings for WLR2 and WLR3. Approval has now been given for a feasibility study into a proposed tactical solution. The feasibility study should take 4-6 weeks, but in the meantime Openreach will work with other key internal stakeholders to:

  • prepare a formal response to Ofcom/OTA2 and
  • develop a communications plan for industry.

Openreach are unable to give a firm commitment as to when this tactical solution would be delivered but they have indicated that the aspirational date is end-2009. WLR CPs have expressed concern that this issue was likely to impede CP transition from WLR2 to WLR3.

Minimum Security Standards

The Minimum Security Standard has now been agreed by NICC and will be published shortly. This will be published via the NGNuk web site (www.ngnuk.org.uk)

The Code of Practice, committing CPs to the full implementation of the standard has now been signed by 8 major CPs/LLUOs. These are BT, Cable & Wireless, Carphone Warehouse (and thereby Tiscali), KCom, O2, Orange, Sky and Virgin. Four additional major CPs are expected to sign shortly.

Progress was discussed at Telecommunications Industry Security Advisory Council (TISAC), a high level governmental security group, who were pleased that progress is now finally being made. TISAC will continue to monitor progress. The task of OTA2 is now to work with those CPs that have signed the CoP, to monitor and report on progress. The previously agreed task for the OTA2 of widening the scope of signatories to the CoP and establishing an accreditation scheme also remains a priority.

Displaced Mobile Emergency Calls

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

Work has continued in moving towards a trial deployment of the Limited Service State (LSS) capability on the mobile networks to enable emergency call from any end user.

The Call Handling Agents (CHA) have identified the systems changes required to identify the call as being LSS and have scheduled the necessary development time to implement the changes (deployment expected by 31st July). The CHAs are also developing a common set of (plain English) words to be used in the hand off to the emergency services identifying the call as being LSS.

A draft implementation plan for the trial and deployment of the LSS capability has been constructed and is with the Network Operators for comment. The project is progressing well and the aim is to move into trial early in August subject to all the necessary systems changes being in place.

56 Points of Aggregation for Ethernet Services

OTA2 facilitated a workshop with the Ethernet community to review the requirements set out in the Business Connectivity Market Review (BCMR) for BT (Openreach) to provide 56 points of aggregation to cover the whole of the country. These Trunk Aggregation Nodes enable CPs to build a point of presence at a specific location and serve the surrounding area by getting Openreach to deliver their services to that location. The CP can then either provide their own network or employ a trunk network provider to deliver the service wherever it is required.

The meeting was well attended by the CPs and Ofcom. The main areas discussed were sites missing from the Openreach plans, lack of space at key Openreach Handover Points (OHP’s) & timescales for implementation. Notes and actions from the workshop have been circulated and we will be developing an action plan to progress this important BCMR obligation.

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 important in ensuring successful delivery of the 18 month roadmap mentioned earlier and essential in ensuring that the right things are developed in the correct priority. CPs are urged to make their attendance at this important forum a high priority.

Service Levels

Our KPI charts show current performance levels. There was a serious systems issue in June which impacted LLU provision and repair services. Whilst this issue has been fixed there would appear to be additional issues effecting MPF provisioning performance and is cause for concern. OTA2 are investigating this with Openreach.

2009/10 – Service Level Staircase Improvement Targets – Openreach presented the agreed Staircase improvement targets for 2009/10 at our recent OTA2 Executive meeting and these have been reflected in this month’s KPI charts. Each individual staircase step is linked to a number of discrete ‘enabling’ projects which are planned to be delivered during the year ahead.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • 18 month Development Roadmap - 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
  • 56 Points of Ethernet Aggregation



Rod Smith