OTA2 Update for August 2009

At the end of August, the number of unbundled lines now stands at 6.06 million. There are 6.13 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 3.84 million.

Product Development Roadmap

I am very pleased to report that we have made significant progress in finalising the outstanding items and can confirm that almost all of the outstanding issues have now been addressed.

During the month we have agreed a final position around the following specific elements:-

  • 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.
  • Implementation progress reporting

At our August OTA2 Executive meeting, Openreach gave a detailed & comprehensive briefing on their new Product Development & Launch Process and the associated Change Control Process, describing at length how it will work in practice.

Openreach presented a full update on ‘implementation progress’ and so far all deliverables relating to the industry ‘gives’ appear to be on track.

The Executive meeting was immediately followed by our first Change Control Board, where a small number of proposed changes were reviewed and agreed. The primary function of this Board is to approve (or not) proposed changes to the Roadmap development commitments which Openreach have made as part of the wider Ofcom consultation on systems separation.

Openreach will also use these Change Control Board sessions to socialise any proposed changes relating to their ‘business as usual’ product developments. This is for communications purposes only and whilst the Board will not be required to make any decisions on these changes since this responsibility belongs to Openreach, feedback from industry will be welcomed. This element of the process was well received by CPs as it provides a level of transparency not previously available.

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. The following link to the Openreach web site provides greater detail on the withdrawal (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 have confirmed that they will implement a tactical solution to resolve the immediate issues for Special Directory Entries and WLR3 within the R1200 timescale (November O9). The full solution for Directories will be restarted once the work to rebuild the OSIS central database is completed.  

The tactical solution will be presented at the WLR Process Group on 1st September.

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. NGNuk 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 trial will 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.

A 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 However the Openreach view is that since all sites are not linked together, then CPs should either locate at a site( or sites) which has connectivity to the Access Serving Node (ASN) that 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 that Openreach set out its interpretation of the BCMR around the creation of TANs, so that a clarification from Ofcom can be sought. This issue has not progressed as a result of the holiday period but progress is expected in the next two weeks.

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.

The issues and resolutions around 56 Points of Aggregation will be picked up at the CSPG

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.

Migrations

We continue to work on refining the existing migrations processes to seek further improvement to the Customer experience. Work has commenced on defining processes for migrations from / to the proposed Openreach NGA product set.

In support of Ofcom’s ‘strategic migrations’ review, we are keen to re-engage key industry stakeholders in developing a shared view of a single ‘migrations process’ which overcomes the weaknesses of the current processes and provides a robust platform for the future.

In support of this aim, and to get the dialogue underway, we invited BT Group to the August OTA2 Executive meeting to present their latest thinking regarding a new industry-wide, single migrations process.

Following a healthy exchange of views from all parties, it was agreed that OTA2 should lead a fresh industry discussion aimed at deriving a shared view of the problem industry is trying to resolve and to consider possible options for a single process/model which addresses the current weaknesses whilst providing a robust platform for the future.

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