OTA2 Update for October 2011

At the end of October, the number of unbundled lines stands at 7.77 million. There are 6.40 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.72 million.

General

Regular followers of this update will be aware that we have been working with both Openreach and Industry to introduce an SLG regime for appointed provisions of copper lines.

After a slow start whilst ‘principles’ were discussed and agreed we have reached the implementation phase (although there are still a couple of difficult issues to reach final agreement on) where both Openreach and CP’s are making terrific progress in preparing for introduction on January 1st.

We continue to be engaged on a wide range of subjects and, as always, are grateful for the support and commitment of our stakeholders in supporting our efforts.

New ‘Backstop’ SLG (Service Level Guarantee) for Appointed Orders

Agreement has been reached on all of the variable elements that make up the SLG for provision of appointed orders as follows;

  • Initial ‘Backstop’ will be 14 days
  • The monetary value of the SLG has been agreed
  • The ‘Backstop’ becomes active from 1st January 2012
  • There will be a link with forecast accuracy from April 2012 at a value to be agreed in January

During the period up to 1st January we are working with all parties to ensure the processes for implementation are in place.

Top-level programme update:-

Forecasting

Since September the initial three CP’s have been working with Openreach to provide the first combined 6 month forecast from October 2011. The process has been a very productive and revealing exercise exposing the different business gathering processes, calendars used and measurement of orders provided and subsequent cancellations. The November forecast should run smoother with ultimately better accuracy.

Business rules and system design

In October Openreach presented the business rules on when and how SLA/SLG would be accepted and paid. The session presented both tactical and strategic options over a period of 6 to 9 months. There was overall concurrence and agreement to the approach. In addition work is now progressing on the timetable for the development of KPI’s as one of the original 10 principles outlined back in the July report. These will help all parties to assess the effectiveness of the SLA/SLG regime including improved efficiency and impact on appointed orders.

Project Plan and Milestones

Openreach have now agreed a plan and set of milestones with the OTA and will now be published to all of Industry through the CPCG.(Copper Products Commercial Group) Openreach have now put in place full project management.

OTA2 Improvement Workstreams

In support of the overall programme, OTA2 have also been tasked to run a series of improvement programmes in parallel to streamline the provision process as much as possible. The programmes are:-

  • Improve Cancellation rates

    A set of data has been requested and provided to assess the behaviour and impact of order cancellation with appointments. This data is now being analysed and assessed to establish root causes and any obvious changes to approach. The concern centres mainly around cancellations in the days just before order completion as these appointments are deemed to be wasted as they are too late to be recycled back into the appointment books.
  • Review Appointment process

    In support of this task Openreach are now in the process of assembling the appropriate documentation so that a collective assessment can be made on the process of any unnecessary appointments. The assessment of this information will now commence through October.
  • Encourage adoption of best practices like Working Line Takeover (WLTO)

    We have agreed with Openreach to hold off on this task whilst the first two tasks are underway. The original data request from the OTA will now start to be reviewed through November.
  • Improve Address Matching Rates

    Openreach have been slow to respond to requests made by OTA2 although over the last week we have seen some early ideas which, if adopted tactically, could make some improvements. Formally Openreach will be presenting these proposals and benefits during November.
  • MBORC – Review process impact on SLG

    The OTA2 and Openreach have had a good exchange in understanding the foundation of MBORC (Matters Beyond Openreach’s Reasonable Control) and its practices and the likely impact on the new SLA/SLG regime. The review has not yet concluded, although suggestions are being developed by the OTA2 for Openreach to consider
  • Review process of Offered Appointments

    A thorough review has been conducted by OTA2 and Openreach that has developed a fully documented view on how the process operates. OTA2 are now reviewing this to establish any material difference on the original understanding of the practice.

    Overall this is a large programme of activities that will continue to develop over the next few weeks which we will report on in our future updates.

Service Performance

Provision lead times have increased slightly to an average of 11 days

For most of September there was an increase in provision volumes which coincided with a hike in repair volumes which resulted in the provision lead times increasing. Resource was re-positioned to regions experiencing highest volumes / longest lead times

Repair work-stack increased in September and remains high

During September, repair intake was affected by the tail end of hurricane Katia as well as localised weather conditions. Moving into October there has been a continuation of a high repair work stack which is being brought under control by an increased level of resource

Plan & Build

The initial trial phase for ‘Advanced PoP Orders’ (APO) is now underway with the harmonisation of Exchange space, power and MDF information into a single format, complete with up to date risk assessments. CP’s are now keen to start working on how phase 2 and 3 will be implemented culminating in a new linked SLA/SLG scheme.

OTA2 recently hosted a review between Openreach and CP’s on the next steps. CP’s have declared their frustration at the slow progress being made in establishing a SLA/SLG scheme along the lines of that originally outlined in a SOR (Statement of Requirement) submitted by Talk Talk some time ago.

Openreach have now presented three options. These options are now being reviewed by CP’s and their feedback is expected within the month. Next steps will now be dependent upon this feedback.

Following concerns raised by CP’s (i.e. Copper & Ethernet communities) regarding various Plan & Build performance issues, the OTA2 and Openreach are now exploring ways as to how we might best tackle these issues. This will commence during November 2011.

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

Openreach has provided revised pricing for the CPs to consider, whilst this is considered to be draft pricing it is anticipated that this will be the pricing which is used in the formal reference offer.

Significant effort from both Openreach and the CP group has continued to work through the contract issues. The aim is to have as many of the issues resolved as possible before we reach the cut off point, before the issue of the formal reference offer.

Trial activity has continued and some good operational and process information has emerged from the exercises to date.

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 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 Q4 2011 which will include guidance on TDM interconnects.

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

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.

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.

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, although there has been a change to the planned publication date. Ofcom now expect this to be published end of 2011/early 2012.
The delay in the publication date has been driven by the significant number and complexity of issues Ofcom have needed to work through.

Service Levels

Our KPI charts show current performance levels.

OTA2 Industry Meetings

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

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • New ‘backstop’ SLG for appointed orders
  • 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
  • Plan & Build Performance Issues
  • Plan & Build – new SLA/SLG scheme

Rod Smith