OTA2 Update for January 2011

At the end of January, the number of unbundled lines stands at 7.53 million. There are 6.14 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 3.04 million.

General

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 January we have tried to make progress on the tasks set for us by Ofcom in the publication of their Statement on Wholesale Local Access (WLA).

We now co-chair the industry forum for Passive Access alongside Openreach and feel we are starting to make progress. We are also engaged with CP’s and Openreach on understanding how the requirements for VULA might be met and feel we are starting to get a good understanding of the potential gaps in perspective. However, it is disappointing that, at a joint CP / Openreach meeting where several Customers of Openreach requested greater OTA2 involvement in the Openreach NGA programme, the request was turned down with no apparent way forward.

We will keep readers of this update fully informed of progress on all major programmes 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 and Industry responses are now being processed by Ofcom.

As reflected in their ‘condoc’, Ofcom have indicated that, based on their previous research and analysis, a gaining provider-led (‘GPL’) process would be their preferred choice, although they remain open to the possibility of a ‘Losing provider-led’ option depending on CPs’ responses to the consultation.

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 commissioned the setting-up of a Switching Working Group (‘SWG’) comprising Ofcom and Industry stakeholders from the fixed-line and broadband sectors. OTA2 have been tasked with facilitating a series of SWG meetings and workshops which has now commenced and will continue through to end-Feb 2011.

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;
    Progress to date has been good with effective engagement achieved across a wide spectrum of industry stakeholders.

Service Recovery

  • Openreach are progressing a major recruitment exercise to bolster their ability to handle the continuing high levels of CP demand for both Provision & Repair, and to restore service lead times (and work stack levels) back to their normal levels.
  • Recruitment activity continues according to plan with over 85% of recruitment now commenced.
  • Provision Lead times have stabilised but a number of books remain significantly extended beyond normal levels.
  • Repair lead times for Care Level 3 have improved significantly and are almost all within SLA.
  • Snow significantly impacted delivery of workstack plans over Christmas period
  • Additional overtime was deployed in the lead up to Christmas and Bank Holidays to help the recovery
  • Bank holiday repair appointments were made available free of charge to try to further reduce the workstack
  • Failed appointments due to snow have all now been reappointed.
  • Task forces have been deployed in the worst hit regions

It remains difficult to predict with any certainty when ‘normal lead times will be resumed’ as this is directly influenced by the return of ‘normal’ weather patterns and how quickly the new Openreach recruits will become fully productive.

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.

Our KPI charts show current performance levels.

Plan & Build

Overall much of the plan and build KPI’s have shown an overall improvement. Blocked frames have been reduced although recently this has levelled off challenging the quarterly target. This is continuously monitored and challenged at the CPCG on a monthly basis.

The Plan and Build work stream has been through a robust review between Industry, Openreach and the OTA. A consensus view has been established that shows the flaws within the current APO process are driving the ordering behaviour of CP’s and in the long term is unsustainable. Openreach have taken on board this conclusion and are now looking at ways of improving this process and in particular the exchange inventory process via its supplier BT Operate. Openreach are now presenting back a stage improvement process that will cover the original SOR raised by Talk Talk (SLA/SLG’s & project management) and the ongoing performance problems.

Ethernet Services

The changes to the Ethernet Meetings has brought more focus to the Commercial group but further work is required to ensure the process group delivers the detailed insight for both Openreach and the CPs. We will be reviewing the options for the Process group and making the necessary changes.

As a more general point, CP attendance at the industry meetings is a growing concern, the same few CPs are shouldering the burden of CP representation. This is something that OTA2 needs to gain better insight into and understand the reasons why CPs are not attending. If necessary we will make changes to the structure or format of the meetings to better represent the need. Without serious multi CP participation the meetings are neither representative nor constructive. In the next few weeks we will be engaging with the wider CP community to take soundings for change.

NGA Business Industry Forum

The NGA Business Industry Forum is now meeting on a regular monthly basis. The group has identified a number of areas where they have concerns over the GEA product set and its application in the business world. The group has started to raise SORs for the areas where they see a shortfall.

Passive Infrastructure Access

On the 14th January, Openreach published their draft Reference Offer for Duct and Pole sharing. OTA2 are working with Openreach and the interested CPs to refine the draft offer into a set of suitable products with supporting processes. We expect a detailed programme plan to be developed and shared with industry in time for the next update.

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 has developed an inspection scheme which has been piloted by 3 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. The output of these has been included in an update of the Standard and associated guidance for the inspection scheme which will be published shortly. Ofcom is also funding the inspection of two 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. 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.

OTA2 Industry Meetings

OTA2 has published the schedule of industry meetings for 2011. These are available via the ‘CP Info’ 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