OTA2 Update for October 2013

At the end of October the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.42 million. There are 5.94 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.38 million.

SLG (Service Level Guarantee) for Appointed Orders – OTA2 Task updates

Of the original group of tasks identified as being beneficial in reducing waiting time for consumers, most are either completed or subsumed into normal activities:

Late Cancellations: This task, which was to reduce the number of wasted visits caused by cancellations reaching Openreach too late to reassign the engineer, has delivered around 2000 saved visits per month. Further work now continues through the missed appointments programme run by Openreach.

Working Line Takeover Adoption (WLTO): All key CPs have this in place. Some CPs are reviewing where utilisation can be improved.

Forced Provides: Through the best practice guide and discussion with Industry, use of Forced Provide has been substantially reduced.

Reappointing Process and Amend: Has now been delivered through two sets of SORs.

Address Matching: This has been improved to a 90% matching rate. A Best practice guide has been launched and further improvements continue with CP’s and Openreach.

Cancelled Repair Visits: Some CPs have found opportunities for improvement and will introduce these in the next quarter.

ELF (Early Life Failure) Concerns

The OTA2 have now completed three workshops with two of the high volume CPs and Openreach. The focus so far has been on establishing reasons for failure where the CP owns both the losing and gaining customer. So far around 10 different areas have been identified for further review. Concerns around the problems of ‘Start of Stop’ new provides have revealed some design issues that could be contributing to the problem. The OTA2 are now engaged with Openreach to confirm that both the problem and solutions have been fully identified and developed.

Service Levels


Provision: The national average lead time for appointed copper provides has increased slightly in recent months. In the last few weeks the national average was approximately 11 working days with 3 of the 10 regions marginally outside the current SLA of 13 working days.

It is noted that the Industry agreed SLA for FAD (First Available Date) drops to 12 working days (from 13WD) with effect from 1st Nov 2013.

Repair: Fault intake volumes are significantly up on previous years. The possible causes for this are currently the subject of major ongoing internal investigation by Openreach. This increase has been evident since July and, despite the increased level of Openreach resources relative to last year, their ‘right first time’ performance remains below 70% for LLU.

Last week’s severe storm caused extensive network damage and will inevitably lead to extended repair and provision lead times in affected areas for a number of weeks while Openreach recover the situation.

On a positive note, the increased Openreach resources relative to previous years does mean they can complete significantly more jobs in a week than historically, and this should help them to recover quicker than they have in the past.

Call Centre Service Support: With all this pressure on operational performance, Openreach’s general ‘customer service support’ functions have been severely stretched necessitating a range of process improvements.

Escalations: Openreach are experiencing a significant rise in ‘escalation’ calls into their Customer Service Centres which has led to significant escalation-handling performance issues. This issue is being experienced across all product lines (i.e. Copper, Ethernet, Number Porting)

To combat this Openreach are introducing extra resources to handle the increased volume and have introduced a new escalation model for Copper and ISDN2 to provide one contact resolution of issues wherever possible.

Our KPI charts show current performance levels.

Plan & Build

Delivery performance continues to improve with CDD performance (i.e. on time delivery) now consistently above 90%.

OTA2 chair the Plan & Build industry forum and the engagement with CPs and Openreach has been very productive with major improvements delivered during the Jan-Aug’13 period.

A special session was held recently to focus specifically on ‘power-related’ issues raised by CPs.

Ethernet Services

Ethernet Services continue to face a number of difficult problems. CPs are reporting challenges with service delivery, lack of response to escalations of problems into Openreach, the application of Deemed Consent to the majority of orders and continuing extended lead times for delivery. Openreach and the CP community are engaging through the Service Forum and we are monitoring progress.

The work to formulate a way forward for the suspended EST is still under development, this was the subject of a 4 day hot house with CPs 24th to 28th September. The Hot House was well attended by CPs and good progress was made in understanding the size and scale of the issues to move the EAD product forward. However there was little consensus on how to fix the problems and the major challenge going forward will be to keep everyone engaged as we resolve the challenges.

This complicated picture is made even more complex with the demand for an improved product and the initiatives to improve the existing service delivery via the ECOx platform, plus the need to have a system to support the Sync-E product, all have influence on any systems proposals. The hope from the ‘Hot House’ is that we can formulate a picture of what good looks like for the medium term and work out how we transition from the current position, although it remains to be seen if this can be delivered incrementally or we need to go through a ‘big uplift transformation’.

One area to raise some concern is the number of CPs who have decided to disengage from the industry forums, either from a resourcing perspective or due to increased dissatisfaction in the engagement process. We will be working back through our industry contacts to understand better how to make the engagement more useful for all the participants.

The engagement with the Openreach Product Line is continuing to be very good, CP collaboration on future requirements and service improvement initiatives is very strong. The commercial group is now providing an excellent opportunity for dialogue on the products and the re-launched process group has started to deliver with good early engagement on the future product requirements.

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.

Significant progress is being made across a wide range of process improvement initiatives

Good engagement across a wide spectrum of CPs who recognise they have a common aim (i.e. process improvement & GC18 compliance) despite naturally competing interests

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

  • Order Handling Process performance – Specific focus on multiline order handling where high level of re-work and order rejections are being experienced. This has most impact on those CPs who serve the ‘business market’
  • Process Documentation – Collective effort in train to simplify and update the ‘legacy’ documentation that previously existed.
  • Port activations process – Make the process simpler and less error prone
  • Out of Hours support – To establish a industry-wide OOH support capability to cater for the business community
  • ’999’ Emergency Services Database – CP data entry process improvements.
  • Openreach Service improvements (SIP) programme – As the ‘pivotal’ industry participant, Openreach have their own comprehensive SIP which they share & discuss with CPs on a regular basis at the Industry forum

One area of increasing concern is the protracted implementation of Openreach’s strategic systems upgrade programme which, amongst other things, replaces the existing legacy platform for port order handling (MOGI) and which has a number of weaknesses which cannot be addressed until the new platform is installed.

Erroneous Landline Transfers (ELTs)

OTA2 continue to support the Ofcom-sponsored ‘reducing consumer harm’ programme via the following industry workstreams:-

ELTs: Ongoing root cause analysis and follow-up engagement with the major CPs to agree actions for improvement regarding their respective address matching capabilities.

Service Restoration: Rollout by CPs of a new USR (Urgent Service Restoration) Process to help limit the End User harm caused as a result of an ELT.

Business Market Service Improvement Programme

Over 30 Business CPs are now involved in this activity which has started to deliver some BAU improvements and spawned several new business orientated product developments.

The key area of CP dissatisfaction had been the progress of improvements for jeopardy management. There was a step change in engagement on Copper and I2 with good collaboration prior to the introduction of a new escalations model which launched late September, however this has recently fallen away and it is questionable whether Business CP concerns raised post launch are being given adequate consideration.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • ELF reduction programme
  • 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
  • Business Market Service Improvements

Rod Smith