OTA2 Update for September 2009

At the end of September, the number of unbundled lines now stands at 6.12 million. There are 6.14 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 3.84 million.

Product Development Roadmap
As reported last month, Openreach have now implemented the new ‘Product Development & Launch’ process along with the associated Change Control Process which has been agreed with Industry.

Although reviews are held, and changes are agreed more frequently, the product development roadmap is updated quarterly and published on the Openreach web-site.

It is important to note that the roadmap captures all the normal ‘business as usual’ commercial developments in addition to the specific ‘Openreach Industry Commitments’ (OICs) which Openreach have signed-up to as part of the wider Ofcom/Industry consultation on ‘Systems Separation’ which has now been concluded.

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/btundertakings/statement/

Any proposed changes to the ‘Openreach Industry Commitments (OIC’s)’ will be reviewed and, if agreed, signed- off at the Change Control Board which is chaired by the OTA2 and attended by all the major industry stakeholders.
In terms of delivery, all of the OIC’s are at various stages of development but, overall, the programme remains on track.

New Challenges
Since our last monthly update, 2 new challenges have surfaced which require urgent attention by industry:-

Erroneous Fixed Line Provisioning activity

Ofcom has recently been urging industry stakeholders to address the increasing incidence of erroneous ‘provisions’ and ‘working line takeovers’ whereby consumers unexpectedly and without consent , find their fixed line service has either been disconnected, transferred or ‘taken over’ by another CP.  The consumer experience is that they have been ‘slammed’, albeit unintentionally.

Research so far suggests various forms of ‘process failure’ are occurring which we have been asked to investigate and fix as a matter of urgency.

The negative consumer experience is further compounded by the fact that there is no recognised ‘reinstatement’ process which ensures that the consumer’s service can be restored in short order.

Ofcom has requested OTA2 to initiate and manage the industry effort needed to identify the tactical actions required to reduce the volume of incidents in the short-term whilst developing a shared view of possible ‘strategic’ solutions

Single Migrations Process

At our last OTA2 Executive meeting there was general consensus that the current suite of migrations processes (i.e. MAC-based, AOT-based, Cease & re-provide) being used to switch voice & broadband products, were problematic as follows:-
  
Consumer experience – different processes are required depending on type of access technology the consumer is moving from and to. (e.g. WLR, MPF, SMPF)

Operational Complexity & Cost - The high dependency on front & back office agents to consistently make correct decisions about which process to use and to give accurate advice to consumers every time, leads to increased risk of mistakes being made and inevitably poor consumer experience.

Future needs - Consumers have a reasonable expectation that future ‘next gen’ products will not encounter any of today’s migrations issues and the experience will be seamless and quick……However, development of the existing ‘multi-process’ operating model, as it stands, to cater for new ‘next gen’ products and increasingly popular ‘bundle’ propositions is likely to worsen the current situation in terms of Consumer experience & Operational Complexity & Cost.

Following a healthy roundtable discussion, Executive members agreed to work together in the coming months to develop a shared view of the problem and to develop an outline specification of a single ‘strategic’ process which would address the shortcomings of the current ‘multi-process’ operating model & provide a robust platform for the future. The output from this work will also help to inform Ofcom’s ongoing review of ‘consumer switching processes’.

OTA2 have agreed to help facilitate this important work stream.

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 shared the tactical solution for the Directories Solution with industry. The solution takes the principles used in WLR2 and provides the CPs with the same functionality using an e-mail request system.  A further more detailed process review will be given at the October WLR Process group to ensure CP alignment.

Minimum Security Standard
The Minimum Security Standard has now been agreed by NICC has been published as ND1643, which can be downloaded via the following link; 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 Minimum Security Standard (ND1643) has now been signed by 10 major CPs/LLUOs. These are BT, Cable & Wireless, Colt, Gamma Telecom, KCom, O2, Orange, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin Media.

The task of OTA2 is now to work with the 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.

The project proceeds at a pace with 3 of the 5 Mobile Networks now fully live, one network in test and will be live by the second week in October after a billing system change and the remaining network targeting completion before the end of the year.

Evaluation of the call stats has shown a reasonably low, but steady utilisation of the service with the first assistance calls to the Emergency Services being requested on the first day of the trial. 

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.  Work to get on top of the actions and provide feedback to the various stakeholders continues. It was agreed to attempt to speed this process up by setting up a small working group to work through the very long list of actions and resolve the issues.

Areas of activity

  • Space and Power at BT sites especially the 106 Openreach Handover Points (OHP’s)
  • Aggregation Phases 1&2
  • 56 Points of Aggregation
  • Fibre Mapping

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.

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.

Service Levels
Our KPI charts show current performance levels.  Although provision and repair performance across LLU, WLR and Ethernet has been relatively stable throughout the summer period, various elements of performance are undershooting the staircase improvement targets which were set at the beginning of the year. This concern will be picked up at the next Service Forum for closer examination.

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
  • Erroneous Fixed Line Provisioning activity
  • Service levels (LLU/WLR/Ethernet)
  • NGA
  • Minimum Security Standards
  • Displaced Mobile Emergency Calls
  • 56 Points of Ethernet Aggregation
  • Erroneous Fixed Line Provisioning activity

 

Rod Smith