OTA2 Update for July 2011

At the end of July, the number of unbundled lines stands at 7.60 million. There are 6.38 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.83 million.

General

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. During the first several months of 2011 provision lead times for many Openreach products have been considerably longer than Industry and Consumers have come to expect, however we are pleased to report that Openreach have now managed to bring lead times more in line with their normal levels. All parties are now concentrating on putting measures in place to try to ensure that the situation does not reoccur, from improving forecasting processes to implementing an enhanced SLG (Service Level Guarantee) regime. 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 1st consultation document was published on 10 September 2010 and a 2nd consultation document is due to be published the autumn.

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 a programme of SWG meetings and workshops over the last 8 months and there only remains one more workshop to be held in August.

Overall progress has been good with effective engagement maintained throughout the programme across a wide spectrum of industry stakeholders.

Ofcom are now reviewing the output from the SWG meetings (i.e. process options and related costings) and are undertaking further research regarding the relative ‘benefits’ attached to each of the options under consideration.

It is Ofcom’s intention to declare their preferred process option in the 2nd Consultation document (due out in autumn 2011) with supporting justification as appropriate.

Service Recovery

In overall terms, progress continued to be made throughout May/June/July regarding Openreach’s service recovery programme, with actual lead-times for both Repair & Provision generally viewed by Industry as ‘back to normal’.

There are still some regional variations that have extended lead times but these are gradually coming down.

SLA/SLG

It has been a very difficult task to try to reach a consensual agreement on the introduction of new SLA/SLG measures, having sought guidance from Ofcom, we have worked with all parties to establish a set of principles that we can all endorse as the basis of a potential agreement. The 10 principles are as follows:

1. Openreach and its customers should assume joint responsibility for delivering good standards of service to end users

2. Delivery times – for LLU and WLR services – should be restored and sustained at “pre-crisis” levels

3. This objective should be supported by appropriate backstop SLAs (such as target time + 2 working days)

4. Openreach and CPs should have appropriate incentives to help achieve the target delivery dates

5. Improved forecasting / order commitment processes will be integral parts of the final SLA/SLG framework

6. CPs should receive SLGs where delivery fails to meet agreed SLAs

7. CPs should also have incentives to forecast accurately

8. Openreach should be publishing actual performance against the target SLAs, and will agree format and how this is done with the OTA2

9. Openreach and CPs, supported by the OTA2, should agree on the characteristics of the new SLA/SLG framework no later than 1 September 2011

10. Openreach and CPs, supported by the OTA2, should agree to commence delivery of the new SLA/SLG framework from 1 October 2011

Over the last three weeks we (OTA2) have been working at a very detailed level with Openreach to develop a proposal based on the principles. This proposal was presented to the CPs at the CPCG 20th July.

Over the next 4/6 weeks we will be working with Openreach and the Copper CPs to work through the detailed requirements and develop the processes and systems required to support the introduction of a backstop appointment SLG.

Plan & Build

The initial phase trial for APO is now underway with the harmonisation of Exchange space, power and MDF information in a single format, complete with a view of risk. CP’s are now keen to start working on how phase 2 and 3 will be implemented resulting in a linked SLA/SLG scheme.

Openreach are keen to explore how the forecasting process can be also harmonised to improve their ability to match demand. The expectation now is for Openreach to come forward with more detailed proposals on how this can all be accomplished.

Ethernet Services

The new formatted Process Group is up and running and is proving to be a very useful opportunity for both Openreach and the CPs to identify issues with processes and system interfaces in advance of the products being developed. All parties agree this is a major step forward.

Passive Infrastructure Access

PIA continues to be a very active area of activity.

The trial is steadily developing with two CPs undertaking surveying tasks. A number of issues have been identified in the process and documentation and we await the first practical issues being flagged up to the Triallist Working Group. 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.

VULA

Following information received from those CP’s that intended to respond, the outline of these concerns have now been reviewed with Openreach and their intended road map for NGA. The initial view from the OTA2 is that those areas considered as pertinent to VULA are in some part covered by the road map. Obviously areas such as ‘wires only’ are present although it is not clear how this will be ultimately delivered. There are a few interesting challenges that will need to be reconciled so the OTA2 will now review some of these options. In addition work continues through the BIF to establish those requirements identified by the Business community.

Minimum Security Standard

The revised Communications Act 2003 and associated security changes came into force on the 25th May in line with the contents of the EU Framework Directive.

In their document “Ofcom guidance on security requirements in the revised Communications Act 2003 - Implementing the revised EU Framework” Ofcom sets out their guidance for CPs on the changes. This is available at www.ofcom.org.uk/telecoms/policy/security-resilience. This guidance includes information on Interconnect Security and references the NICC Minimum Security Standard.

The NICC Minimum Security Standard ND1643 (covering interconnect security) can be viewed via the NICC web site at niccstandards.org.uk. Feedback from the initial CPs who underwent assessment against the Standard has been used to update the Standard and the associated guidance. A further iteration should be available in September 2011 which will include guidance on TDM interconnects.

Further information is available on the NGNuk web site: www.ngnuk.org.uk

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:

  • New ‘backstop’ SLG
  • Address Data Matching Integrity issues
  • WLR/LLU Process development
  • Connectivity Services Process Development
  • Ethernet strategic Product review
  • Strategic Review of Consumer Switching
  • Erroneous Fixed Line Transfers activity
  • Fixed line porting - Improvements
  • Service levels (LLU/WLR/Ethernet)
  • Minimum Security Standards
  • PIA - Passive Infrastructure Access
  • VULA – Virtual unbundled line access


Rod Smith