OTA2 Update for April 2011

At the end of April, the number of unbundled lines stands at 7.62 million. There are 6.14 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.94 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.

We report in greater detail the progress we are making on the tasks set for us by Ofcom and Industry, and outline progress against an important new task relating to SLG (Service Level Guarantee) measures. During the past several months, provision lead times for many Openreach products have been considerably longer than Industry and Consumers have come to expect. Despite this, the current SLG process does little to protect CPs from loss of business or customer dissatisfaction that results. Therefore following direct feedback from Industry, Ofcom requested us to work with all parties to review the effectiveness of the measures and seek to reach consensual changes where appropriate.

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 initial consultation document was published on 10 September 2010 and Industry responses have been submitted to Ofcom.

A 2nd 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 (Gaining Provider Lead - Notice of Transfer) and MAC (Losing Provider Lead - Migrations Authorisation Code) processes.

To help inform the 2nd consultation, Ofcom 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 facilitating bi-weekly SWG meetings and workshops over the period Nov’10 to Apr’11

Progress updates against the SWG’s original objectives are as follows:

  • To agree on 2 x GPL (gaining provider led) switching process options and 1 LPL (losing provider led) option for the purpose of further detailed development work;

2 GPL process options have now been identified.

i) TPV/3rd Party validation + Account reference model

ii) USN-Unique Service Number model

1 LPL process option has also been identified.

  • To develop detailed specifications of selected processes;

Detailed process specifications have been produced for all 3 process options and sent out to Stakeholders for costings

  • To develop cost estimates, both set up costs and ongoing costs;

Stakeholders are underway in producing costings for each of the proposed process options
Overall progress to date has been good with effective engagement maintained across a wide spectrum of industry stakeholders.

Service Recovery

In overall terms, there has been a marked improvement in service performance as a result of the increased levels of resources applied by Openreach and a sustained period of normal weather patterns in the first few months of the year.

Now that the ‘repair’ workstack levels have been managed down to a normal level (i.e. 14K) and maintained thereafter, speed of repair performance for all care levels has steadily improved.

With ‘repair’ performance now coming under control, Openreach have been able to direct more resources towards reducing ‘provisioning’ lead times and this has led to significant improvements across all regions.
There is still some way to go but all the signs are that, providing adequate resources remain in place and continuing management focus is applied, then Openreach service levels are on track to be ‘back to normal’ by June/July’11.

SLA/SLG

On the 8th March a letter was sent to the OTA2 from Ofcom requesting that the OTA2 facilitate a review of the SLA/SLG regime in light of the Openreach service performance issues.

A first review with Openreach established that the SLA/SLG issues were primarily around the Lead to Cash (L2C) activities rather than Trouble to Resolve (TTR). It was also recognised that the challenges for Copper and Ethernet products were quite distinct and therefore would be tackled in separate ways. The Copper products challenges would pursue an acceptable maximum lead time whilst Ethernet Products would concentrate on the delivery process and notification of deemed consent. Openreach also insisted that forecasting should also be conditional on any changes to the SLA/SLG approach.

The initial activity has focussed mainly on the copper products appointed provision activity for WLR and MPF. Engagement with Industry established a proposal for maximum lead time and presented this to Openreach. Openreach are now modelling their current resources and activities to establish a proposed maximum lead time. It is anticipated this work will be completed by the end of April for review with Industry.

In addition the wider concerns of forecasting have been reviewed. It is recognised by all that this is an area that needs some attention. Specifically for appointed activities it has been proposed that a product agnostic run rate would be used with a small tolerance supported by notification of any major changes in a quarter by CP’s. The idea is to keep both the SLA/SLG and support process as simple and effective as possible. The wider area of forecasting for all products would now be taken up the respective Industry Commercial groups.  It is anticipated that the tactical and strategic planning will be mainly developed in May for Copper products with the Ethernet review taking slightly longer. It is not anticipated that the SLA/SLG changes will be introduced until after service performance has reached a normal level which is currently targeted for July by Openreach.

Plan & Build

The Plan and Build work stream has now progressed to a three phase implementation with an ambition of providing CPs with self management of all relevant information. The introduction of the new KCI and KPI process is due to be trialled with all CPs.  A new generation co-mingling product is now being evaluated following responses from key CPs. Finally the Space Only product is to be extended to all sites. Collaboration with Industry continues to be seen as a positive activity with some areas still to be completed.

Ethernet Services

The meeting structure continues to be a focus of our attention and getting the most from the meetings for all the attendees.

We are working with Openreach to target the top 30 Ethernet CPs and undertake an engagement process to improve our understanding of important issues and concerns that we can use the meetings to address.
We are also working with Openreach to get CPs early insight into possible developments so the CPs can help shape the products more effectively – the first Hot House session was held in April and was very well received.

NGA Business Industry Forum

The NGA BIF has now focussed on a wide ranging SOR based heavily on the ALA standards work completed by NICC. The SOR has now been raised by Capita following contributions from key business based CPs. Openreach will now evaluate the SOR with Industry.

Passive Infrastructure Access

PIA has been a very active area since the draft reference offer was published. There is considerable interest from quite a diverse group of CPs. The activities to get from the draft to a full offer have split into two groupings, trial and the industry working groups.

The trial is steadily developing with a number of CPs working through the process of establishment for the product. The aim of the trial is to test the suitability of the processes and to test some of the assumptions Openreach have made. The CPs are looking to test the viability of the product and assess the chances of a scale deployment

The industry Working Group is busily working through the details of the offer and a sub group is sorting out the contractual terms.

There are a number of challenges for both the CPs and Openreach with price, usage restrictions and contractual terms under significant scrutiny.

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. NGNuk are also seeking to obtain accreditation for the scheme via UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service).

The recently issued the EU Framework Directive will, most probably, have an impact on the take up of the MSS by CPs. The output on the BIS Consultation is expected to be published towards the end of April or early May. An Ofcom statement on their approach will follow very shortly after this. It is expected that Ofcom will publish guidance and write to CPs regarding compliance to the Article and reporting of Incidents. It is anticipated that meeting the Minimum Security 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