OTA2 Update for January 2013

At the end of January the number of unbundled lines stands at 8.83 million. There are 6.22 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.22 million.

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

Definition - Appointed provides – approx 25% of all copper provides – where an Openreach engineer is required to attend Customer address.

Following the proposal which was agreed at a CEO’s meeting in December 2012, and after intense review between major forecasting CP’s (BTR, Sky & TTG), Openreach, OTA2 and Ofcom, the new SLG for appointed provides was made effective during January through the signature of amended contracts by the parties.

In summary, the final deal has the following characteristics

  • SLA of 13 days from 1st Nov 2012
  • Forecasting tolerance of +/-15% from 1st Nov 2012 reducing to +/-10% from Nov 2013 with conditions on Openreach and CP performance.
  • Payment of £2 per day above SLA, rising to £4 per day at SLA + 3.
  • Agreement to be potentially superseded at implementation of Ofcom WLA Market review

Non Forecasting CP’s will receive full SLG payments automatically, and now that agreements are in place our focus will return to OTA2 improvement tasks with CP’s and Openreach

As part of the exercise of determining the SLG structure and process it became clear that there were many failures where appointments should not have been required in the first place. As a result OTA2 proposed a number of improvement work streams with the aim of significantly reducing the requirement to have an Openreach engineer attend.

The OTA2 tasks have recently been reviewed.

The targets set to reduce late cancellations have been met and a review with Industry is trying to establish if further improvements can be made. WLTO is now well on the way to being fully adopted with completion expected around end March 2013. A best practice guide has now been issued that helps avoid the use of Forced Provides coupled with some trialling by Openreach on changing the Forced Provide process. The issue of repeats has been confirmed as an Openreach activity and will now come under the banner of R15k programme. The SOR for improving customer experience continues to progress and finally significant work has been made by CP’s in improving the way address matching is consumed to reduce the amount of unnecessary appointments made. A further 3 tasks are now being reviewed for potential benefits.

Service Levels

Copper - Despite the heavy blizzards and freezing temperatures in recent weeks, Openreach have successfully dealt with the inevitable increase in fault intake levels, primarily as a result of the many initiatives which have been put in place regarding resource, overtime and dynamic hit teams, which collectively, has delivered a step increase in productivity.

This level of improved productivity has also benefitted provisioning performance, enabling the work-stack to be reduced to a level which is ahead of Openreach’s recovery plan.

Current average lead time for provisioning has now been reduced to just below 16 days, but whilst the short-term weather outlook remains uncertain, it seems that Openreach have the necessary plans in place to cope and remain quietly confident that SLG levels for provisioning will be restored by end of Feb’13.

Our KPI charts show current performance levels.

Plan & Build

Openreach Performance (i.e. PoP installations) has been badly affected in recent months (since Nov’12) due to significant ‘installation quality’ issues attributable to one of Openreach’s suppliers.

Whilst the issue is well understood and has been receiving intensive Openreach Executive attention, on time delivery performance has suffered significantly and will continue to do so until the backlog has been substantially cleared.

A number of specific steps have been taken by Openreach to remedy the situation (e.g. crash training programme, injection of experienced managers, alternative supplier, etc) and the expectation is that normal performance levels should be resumed in the very near future.

Ethernet Services

Openreach have recently made changes to the Senior Management team who look after the Ethernet Services Portfolio. There has been a noticeable improvement in the engagement with the CP community. There has been engagement on a number of areas which have been long running problems and whilst we are yet to see any fully formed plans we are encouraged by the willingness to engage.

There has also been recognition that the process of service delivery is broken and that the attempts to introduce a new strategic systems stack – moving Ethernet onto the EMP platform - has not delivered its range of promised improvements (if anything, some CP’s believe it has worsened the situation). The Openreach SMT has moved to create a recovery programme (STEADfast) where the aim is to develop a holistic view of the service delivery and ensure that the systems support the product and that the orders can be delivered as quickly as possible without the need to constantly push the delivery date out. The programme is at an early stage in its development, we (OTA2) are fully supportive of the exercise and keen to move the plans forwards to the point of engaging with the CPs.

In support of STEADfast and in recognition of the need to have both the systems and operating models aligned Openreach have launched a sister programme called LEAN which builds on some good analysis carried out by KPMG, again we are fully supportive of the activity and look forward to moving the issues forward.

We are very pleased to see the focus and recognition of the issues surrounding the Ethernet Services and will report progress in subsequent updates.

Number Porting (Fixed Line)

As Chair of the Number Port Process & Commercial Group, OTA2 continue to direct the industry stakeholder community to focus on the most important issues and to drive the execution of badly needed improvements to the number porting processes.

The task is particularly challenging as the stakeholder community consists of very different CPs with very different self-interests. Where necessary, OTA2 provides an important conduit to/from the relevant Ofcom sections involved in Number Porting matters. (e.g. CPs seeking clarification of GC18)

To give an indication, the industry group is currently focused on the following issues/topics:-

  • Order Handling Process performance – to establish SLA’s and metrics
  • Process Documentation – to improve the quality of existing process documentation
  • Process re-engineering – to re-engineer the order handling and activation processes to be less error prone and more efficient.
  • Reseller rights – to provide unambiguous clarification of reseller’s rights where number porting is involved.
  • Port activations process – make simpler and less error prone
  • Out of Hours support – to establish a industry-wide OOH support capability to cater for the business community
  • Port desk availability times – to agree a common industry schedule for ‘opening’ hours
  • Openreach Service improvements programme – to oversee progress

Business Market Service Improvement Programme

Following representations by a number of CPs to Ofcom over the summer that Openreach was not addressing the needs of business focused CPs and their customers, leading to unacceptable levels of service for this group of CPs, a programme of work was initiated between Business CPs and Openreach to review what improvements might be achieved for copper based products (WLR, ISDN, MPF and SMPF). An initial set of objectives has been agreed for collaborative activity for implementation in Q1. In addition a suite of Business KPIs has been developed which will be used to identify future areas for collaboration and service improvement.

Strategic Review of Consumer Switching

OTA2 will continue to provide ad-hoc support to the Ofcom team as and when requested.

OTA2 Industry Meetings

OTA2 has published the schedule of industry meetings for 2013. 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 number porting - Improvements
  • Service levels (LLU/WLR/Ethernet)
  • Minimum Security Standards
  • Plan & Build Performance Issues
  • Plan & Build – new SLA/SLG scheme
  • Business Market Service Improvements

Rod Smith