OTA2 Update for July 2009

At the end of July, the number of unbundled lines now stands at 6.01 million. There are 6.09 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 3.90 million.

Product Development Roadmap

There has been good and constructive involvement from industry in working through the proposals set out in the Ofcom condoc. We are working closely with Openreach to fully detail three areas:

  • The Change Control Process for the product roadmaps
  • A Baseline (version 1) Roadmap – Clearly setting out the proposed schedule for delivering the required capability
  • Plans and timescales for the industry “gives” on documentation, data integrity and EMP consumption.

A major cornerstone of the product development new process is ‘change control’. A process has been shared with a small number of stakeholders to solicit initial feedback and the final version has now been circulated out to OTA2 Executive members. Full documentation of the process will be circulated by Friday 14th.

The August OTA2 Executive Meeting (26 August) will be the first ‘change control board’ session, with monthly reviews scheduled thereafter.

The product roadmaps will now be issue controlled with version 1 being used at the OTA2 Change Control Board on the 26th August, and version 2 being issued after the meeting.

At the working level, solid progress is being made with regards to each of the major deliverables contained within the draft roadmap. Most of the activity has been collaborative and has focused on defining detailed ‘User Stories’ before moving into the ‘high level design’ stages. We await detailed statements and a communications plan from Openreach setting out the benefits and deliverables in respect of the headline ‘infrastructure’ programmes:-

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

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 – As previously reported the WLR community have raised concerns over the withdrawal of the Directories Solution scheduled for EMP R1100. Openreach took an action to respond to Ofcom and the OTA2 with a customer update and proposals for a tactical solution to WLR3 orders not being able to specify the retention of their Special Directory entries.

At the WLR Process Group meeting 21 July Openreach presented their update: The removal from the R1100 release of the Equivalence Management Platform was due to BT’s decision to outsource the OSIS database. (The OSIS database is the data source for Directories). The solution which would have been executed in R1100 was dependent on getting access to OSIS, but as a result of the decision to outsource and refresh the database onto new technology Openreach was understandably reluctant to undertake the necessary development twice.

In the interim, before the new OSIS becomes available, there is a need for the WLR3 CPs to have the ability to not only retain their directory entry but also to preserve the Special Directory Entries (Bold type face etc.). This function is available in WLR2 using a Low Volume Request (LVR) which is in effect a free text message sent via the ordering gateway (SPG). Openreach are undertaking a feasibility study of the work necessary to implement a ‘tactical’ solution working along the same principles as WLR2 to provide this basic capability. Openreach will report their findings and outline the systems and process implications next month.

Minimum Security Standards

The Minimum Security Standard has now been agreed by NICC and will be published shortly as ND1643 (http://www.niccstandards.org.uk/publications/llu_spec.cfm). This will also be published via the NGNuk web site (www.ngnuk.org.uk)

The Code of Practice (CoP), committing CPs to the full implementation of the standard has now been signed by 10 major CPs/LLUOs. These are BT, Cable & Wireless, Carphone Warehouse Group, Colt, Gamma Telecom, KCom, O2, Orange, Sky and Virgin Media.

The task of OTA2 is now to work with those CPs that have signed the CoP, to monitor and report on progress towards implementation. The previously agreed task for the OTA2 of widening the scope of signatories to the CoP remains a priority. OTA2 are also working with the NICC Security Working Group to develop a certification scheme in association with UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service).

Displaced Mobile Emergency Calls

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

Work has continued 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 developments required by the Call Handling Agents (CHA) to identify the calls as being LSS have been completed and are now in test.

The implementation plan has been amended to allow for the training of the Call Handling Agent operators and for a briefing to be developed and circulated to the Emergency Authority control room staff.

The trial is now scheduled to commence 1st September and is aimed at allowing the MNOs the opportunity to ensure all their back end systems are functioning correctly and for the CHAs to handle calls from the networks to test the systems changes described above. National rollout will follow subject to clearing the trial gate and is expected to take 2-3 weeks to roll out.

56 Points of Aggregation for Ethernet Services

The Business Connectivity Market Review (BCMR) set out the requirement for BT (Openreach) to provide 56 points of aggregation to cover the whole of the country. These Trunk Aggregation Nodes (TAN) 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 third workshop to review the Openreach proposals to create the infrastructure to support this BCMR requirement was held on 28th July. The meeting went through the Openreach plans for the EBD product proposals where they are pertinent to the BCMR TAN requirements. Under the BCMR requirement there are a number of locations which are linked together to create a TAN (several BT sites would collectively be recognised as a single TAN). The CP view of this is that they should be able to take space in any of the sites and have the circuit delivered to them, Openreach view is that as all sites are not linked together then the CPs should either locate in the sites which have connectivity to the access serving node (ASN) their customer is connected to or pay for the circuit to traverse through the TAN sites to get to the actual site the CP has located in.

OTA2 has requested Openreach to set out their interpretation of the BCMR around the creation of TANs so that a clarification from Ofcom can be sought.

Connectivity Services Process Group (CSPG)

In light of the experience found with the WLR and LLU process fora it has been agreed to take this best practice into the Connectivity Services (Ethernet) product line. The group will focus on the Product Process, Development and Technical challenges, leaving the Connectivity Services Product and Commercial Group (CSP&CG) to consider the business and commercial challenges. As with the WLR and LLU groups the CSPG is directed by the CSP&CG.

One of the first actions is to provide a central location for all of the accumulated actions which have arisen from the many workshops.

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 LLU Process Forum has recently signed-off the User Stories for key roadmap developments:-

  • Working line takeover
  • Service Harmonisation
  • Special Faults investigation
  • Enhanced Managed Line Characteristics

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. The deterioration in MPF/SMPF provisioning performance has been arrested but further improvements are anticipated once a long-awaited fix to the ‘Test & Diagnostics’ has been completed. OTA2 are pressing Openreach (via the Industry Service Forum) to confirm the proposed timeline for this fix.

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
  • Connectivity Services 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