OTA2 Update for January 2012

At the end of January, the number of unbundled lines stands at 8.02 million. There are 6.28 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.58 million.


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

From the 1st January 2012 Openreach introduced the SLG backstop of £2 per day for orders that could not be offered an appointment within 14 working days. This is unconditional for the first three months, but from April onwards the SLG will be conditional upon a degree of forecasting accuracy for the largest CP’s in terms of orders placed and requiring appointments.


The initial participating CP’s have now completed three cycles of forecasting although the achieved accuracy of the first cycle will not be known until February. Considerable effort has been made by all parties on forecasting as the process and approach is examined and improved. There are still differences in detail but these will disappear over time.

Service Differentiation

Openreach are now in the process of evaluating how to approach service differentiation in cases where a single CP could adversely affect the performance of appointments in Openreach and in turn other CP’s. Once Openreach have collated their views and approach these will be shared with industry through the normal channels.

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
    Work continues on this focussing on the three days prior to the Contract Completion Date (CCD) through to the point of no return and unnecessary truck rolls. Improvements have been proposed and are being discussed with Openreach.
  • Review Appointment Process
    All significant processes have now been reviewed with Openreach who are looking at some of our proposed improvements. Specifically the process of forced appointed provides has been drafted as a best practice guide with support from Openreach. This will be published in the near future.
  • Encourage adoption of best practices like Working Line Takeover (WLTO)
    Adoption of WLTO is well advanced across most CP’s, although some are currently introducing it progressively.
  • Improve Address Matching Rates
    Openreach have been pursuing a number of tactical improvements. These are being reviewed weekly with the OTA2. Additionally, Openreach have re-engaged with CP’s (31st January) to review the feasibility and viability of the original strategic proposals.
  • MBORC – Review Process Impact on SLG
    This review has now completed with an agreement that MBORC will not be extended in order to defer SLG payments.
  • Review Process of Offered Appointments
    A full review has completed which concludes that the appointment books work to best effect as currently operated.

Service Performance

Following the very bad weather which hit Scotland, Cumbria, Cornwall and Wales at the start of the year, Openreach have continued to focus on recovering service in those areas worst effected whilst, at the same time, driving towards a national lead time for provisioning performance of 14 days or better.

Various measures including additional resources and contractual overtime have paid dividends in helping to reduce the repair workstack (significantly inflated due to the storm damage) to a more manageable level.

By mid to late Jan, the average UK lead time for provisioning was being managed within the target range of 10-14 working days whilst still maintaining the focus on clearing repair jobs.
The increased capacity which has been created by Openreach has enabled them to offer early appointment slots in some areas. CPs are encouraged to take up these early appointment slots, particularly in Scotland, Wales and the Leeds area as this will help support the recovery of performance in those areas.

Plan & Build

OTA2 have now hosted the first 2 ‘Plan & Build’ meetings (Dec/Jan) and both have been well attended by industry and Openreach.
The January meeting focused on the following key initiative:-

  • Complex Sites Project

Basically this is an Openreach sponsored project which involves revisiting a large number of ‘APO’s’ (advanced planning orders) which have been previously placed on hold due to lack of space/power at various exchange sites

Openreach & BT Operate are working closely to identify revised solutions. This project commenced in October 2011 and is due to complete by the end of March 2012.

The mean time to provide as of 31/10/11 was 205 days, this project aims to prove a reduction is possible. The solutions will be met by a series of rationalisation, relocations & recovery of redundant equipment. The creation of space will enable CP orders at the sites to be progressed earlier.

The project will use “lessons learned” to enhance the BAU process to ensure complex sites are better managed to avoid a build up of blocked sites in the future.

Ethernet Services

The EST (Ethernet Systems Transformation) programme went live in January for EAD. In conjunction with the new systems Openreach have moved to a changed Operating model for the interaction with their customers. In reaction to CP concerns over the impact of the changes a series of ‘war gaming’ workshops has been started which has been very useful in flagging up some potential issues and exposing some process deficiencies.

There is now a broader question of CP engagement for new requirements and the operation of the C2M process. CPs have raised concerns that they are unable to interact with the developments and correct any anomalies in the design. Openreach are reviewing the way that they engage through the Products & Commercial forum with a view to make the meeting better for both parties. Proposals for improving the interaction are being developed and will be shared with industry over the next month.

Passive Infrastructure Access

The FRO (final reference offer) for the PIA product has been issued by Openreach moving the product to a firm offering.

The trail phase officially closes at the end of January but a number of CPs have requested that they be able to complete their trialling of the product before committing to the full contract terms (minimum period etc), this is now with Openreach for consideration.

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 is now available which includes guidance on TDM interconnects.

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

Number Porting (Fixed Line)

OTA2 continue to work with industry to drive a wide range of badly needed process improvements. A particular focus has been to produce an up to date list of commercial contacts for every CP to whom Ofcom has allocated a number range since day 1. This is now bearing fruit in that we have a seen a noticeable increase in interest from smaller CPs and resellers who seem to experience many of the process issues we need to tackle. This community have a key role to play in helping us to identify the improvements needed.

One of the biggest concerns expressed by CPs & Resellers is the complex nature of the Number Porting process and supporting documentation. Our aim is to grossly simplify the processes (and documentation) and to make this information (inc. Contacts) readily available via a new web-site.

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.

It is Ofcom’s intention to declare their preferred process option in the 2nd Consultation document which Ofcom now expect will be published during early Feb 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 2012. 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