OTA2 Update for October 2010

At the end of October, the number of unbundled lines stands at 7.23 million. There are 6.18 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 3.16 million.


This month we are again publishing a more comprehensive update. We continue to make progress on a broad number of subjects and as always are grateful for the commitment of all our stakeholders in supporting our efforts to improve consumer experience across the areas where we engage.

During October we have been given additional duties by Ofcom in the publication of their Statement on Wholesale Local Access (WLA). We have been asked to engage with industry on the remedies identified by Ofcom in Passive Access, VULA and SLU to ensure that as wide a range of inputs as possible are factored into the development of the solutions that will deliver the programmes.

We have also been asked by Ofcom to help facilitate a number of workshops with industry in order to further refine their thinking on the Strategic Review of Consumer Switching – the process which all of industry will use to ensure that Consumers can enjoy a hassle-free and inexpensive experience when switching between service providers.

We will keep readers of this update fully informed of progress as we move forward.

Strategic Review of Consumer Switching

Ofcom’s strategic review of consumer switching is focused on making consumer switching quicker, cheaper & easier for consumers and, in doing so, enable greater competition between service providers.

The consultation document was published on 10 September 2010, inviting Industry to respond on the issues raised in the document by 19th November latest.

In light of evidence and analysis, Ofcom have provisionally concluded that a gaining provider-led (‘GPL’) process should be employed where there are no pre-existing services (i.e. in a ‘greenfield’ setting).

A second consultation document and subsequent statement is planned for 2011 and will focus on changes to current switching processes for fixed-line and broadband services
(including bundles of the two) which currently use the NoT(GPL-Notice of Transfer ) and MAC (LPL-Migrations authorisation code) processes.

To help inform the 2nd consultation, Ofcom has tasked OTA with facilitation of a new Switching Working Group (‘SWG’) comprising Ofcom and Industry stakeholders from the fixed-line and broadband sectors.

The objectives of the group are:

  • To agree on GPL switching processes (no more than 2 preferably) for the purpose of further detailed development work;
  • To develop detailed specifications of selected processes;
  • To develop cost estimates, both set up costs and ongoing costs;
  • To identify key drivers of the transitional costs of moving from NoT and MAC legacy processes to the new process(es) being considered and develop understanding of the scale of these costs;
  • To highlight any areas of the proposed development activity which the SWG cannot handle with a view to considering alternative approaches.

Service Recovery

Openreach continue to tackle the significant service issues which have prevailed since early summer. Workstack levels for provisioning still remain extremely high and whilst a range of recovery plans are underway to alleviate the situation, it is hoped that these plans will not be set back by the sort of adverse weather encountered this time last year.

In the meantime, Openreach senior management continue to host regular industry-wide briefings which go a long way to re-assuring CPs that everything possible is being done to normalise service levels as soon as possible.

Plan & Build

Since the last update Openreach have been improving the response to surveys, APOs (advance PoP orders), TAMs (Test Access matrix) and Tie Cables. Although not perfect the trend is moving positively in the right direction. The one area that still requires attention is the sustained level of blocked frames. We understand that recovery plans are being developed and will be shared with Industry soon.

A Plan and Build work stream has now been established in response to the TalkTalk sponsored SOR and the recent Openreach performance problems. There have been two meetings which have explored proposals to link SLAs and SLGs to forecasting. This process is still in early stages although there is high expectation to move forward at pace from both Openreach and the CPs. The work stream is under the governance of the CPCG (Copper Products Commercial Group).

Ethernet Services

The last few months has seen a major exercise with OTA, CPs and Openreach refocusing the Ethernet Industry Meetings activities. The Ethernet Product Commercial Group has taken control of the Programme Plan and the gating process for new industry requirements. This is beginning to drive greater transparency in the overall capture and progression of requirements.

The Process Group has refocused on the design stages and developing a deeper understanding of the products requirements, tightly aligned to the EST programme and the industry requirements workshops, the CPs are being given a greater insight into the solutions and ensuring that they can shape them in development not after release as before.

Ethernet Systems Transformation - The EST programme continues to be a major focus for the CPs and Openreach. The industry collaboration is working well and Openreach are launching trial environments for the collaborating CPs to begin to test their interactions before the system goes into a live state. The EAD product is the lead product but EBD is starting its journey through the user needs validation stages.

Strategic Ethernet Aggregation Product - Openreach have concluded that they are not able to deliver the requirements set out by the industry group for the Strategic Aggregation Product and have confirmed they will not deliver a multi-CP Aggregation Product.

However, Openreach have committed to improving the WES Aggregation product’s consumability and will look to provide a solution to extending the service with a backhaul product. In addition a review of the technology options for moving the Aggregation product onto a newer, more capable, technology set has commenced.

NGA Business Industry Forum

At the request of the NGA Business CPs the OTA has been requested to facilitate an industry group. The aim is to try to provide the NGA programme with a Business focused input when they are shaping their plans. The meeting has held two sessions and generated an issues list which will be refined to provide Openreach with either specific requests for change or SORs to cover gaps.

Minimum Security Standard

The NICC Minimum Security Standard (ND1643) has been published and can be downloaded via the following link; http://www.niccstandards.org.uk/publications/llu_spec.cfm

NGNuk are working to develop an inspection scheme which will be piloted in Q4 2010 by six CPs. As part of this activity, preliminary audits of smaller communications providers were undertaken to ensure that the standard, its interpretation and supporting guidance are written appropriately. Ofcom is funding the inspection of some smaller CPs to obtain further validation and feedback. NGNuk are also seeking to obtain accreditation for the scheme via UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) during the first half of 2011.
The recently issued the EU framework directive will, most probably, have an impact on the take up of the MSS by CPs, (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:337:0037:0069:EN:PDF).

BIS are currently consulting on the revised EU framework and it is anticipated that the security requirements within article 13 will be included in UK legislation that will come into force in May 2011. The Minimum Standard (ND1643) will be treated by Ofcom as a creating a presumption of a CPs compliance with the provisions of the new framework relating to interconnection.

OTA Industry Meetings

OTA has published the schedule of industry meetings for 2011. These are available via the ‘Scheme Participants’ tab on this website.

Service Levels

Our KPI charts show current performance levels.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • EMP consumption issues Data Integrity issues
  • WLR/LLU Process development
  • Connectivity Services - Product Issues
  • Connectivity Services Process Development
  • Ethernet strategic Product review
  • Strategic Review of Consumer Switching
  • Current migrations processes-Critical Review
  • Migrations Process development for NGA to/from Copper
  • Erroneous Fixed Line Transfers activity
  • Fixed line porting - Improvements
  • Service levels (LLU/WLR/Ethernet)
  • Minimum Security Standards

    Rod Smith