OTA2 Update for January 2014

At the end of January 2014 the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.22 million. This number is lower than previously reported due to the discovery of a double count in the reported numbers – this has now been corrected and the adjusted numbers are shown in the attached charts. There are 5.76 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.29 million.

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: Although the work on this task is now largely completed, the publication of missed appointment data by Openreach has allowed further insight into possible route causes and may present further opportunities.

Working Line Takeover Adoption (WLTO): Continual review of CP processes has found some further improvements that will be introduced over the next few months.

Consumer Switching

Following on from Ofcom’s recent Statement on Consumer Switching (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/consumer-switching-review/statement/), the inaugural Switching Process Implementation Group (SPIG) meeting was held on 22nd Jan. This forum will be chaired by Ofcom and will meet each month to review progress and provide direction as necessary.

A subsidiary forum (the SPIG Working Group) has also been formed and will be chaired by OTA2. This forum will be attended by CP stakeholders and will meet fortnightly to develop and work through the detailed workstreams necessary to achieve the headline objective:- By June 2015, to implement a Harmonised Switching Process for all consumer-driven voice & broadband switch requests for services delivered over the Openreach copper access infrastructure.

Ofcom Consultation on Fixed Access Market Review (FAMR)

Ofcom published their Statement on this subject on 19 December. Whilst proposing minimum service quality levels for Openreach is a major emphasis of the statement, there are also proposals for additional tasks involving OTA2. As we work through these proposals with stakeholders we will keep followers of this update informed as to progress.

Service Level Agreements and Guarantees

At the January OTA2 Executive meeting, a proposal from Sky was considered suggesting that OTA2 immediately commence work with industry to consider improvements that might be made to the SLAs/SLGs offered by Openreach, to agree a prioritised work stack and then to move onto facilitating industry/Openreach negotiations. This was agreed by all and OTA2 will now commence this activity. 

ELF (Early Life Failure) Concerns

Following extensive work by Openreach, two CP’s and OTA2 a number of improvements have now been identified to improve overall ELF rate. An Industry workshop was held on 29 January which took Industry through the next steps. The analysis has been conducted by looking at different order types; Visited Provide, Start of Stop, Migration, Home Move and Saved Visit. The main focus has been on Start of Stop which runs at a higher rate of failure. In general, areas of improvements are;

  • Accuracy of healthy or unhealthy markers via Dialogue Services
  • Potential improvements of routine test of stopped lines
  • Frame accuracy on both Line and Equipment Side
  • Determination of downstream fault resolution
  • Improvements of process of test before order completion.

Openreach will be either completing changes or running trials to introduce improvements.

MBORC Transparency

OTA2 have been working with Openreach on both the transparency of their MBORC (Matters Beyond our Reasonable Control) process and the development of strategic MIS reporting. A workshop is now planned for 19 February whereupon Openreach plan to walk through the process and discuss MIS reporting requirements.

The recent FAMR has also set some requirements around MBORC that will need to be included into the plans.

Service Levels


Repair: Service levels have been heavily impacted by the severe adverse weather experienced across the UK over the last 6 weeks or so.

Fault intake for the last fortnight has been approx. 88,000 per week, which represents a 27% increase on the corresponding period for last year.

Openreach have been pulling out the stops to get on top of the situation and, as a result of the new Engineering capacity they have introduced during last year along with a range of other new initiatives, the repair workstack is on a continued downward trend.

All of this weather-related disruption has taken its toll on Repair ‘on-time’ performance which continues to sit at 60-70% for both LLU and WLR faults.

Provision: Despite the significant repair workload brought about by bad weather, Openreach have managed to bring FAD (First Available Date) lead times back under SLA levels at just under 12 working days (measured at a national level) with every prospect that most of the local regions will be below 11 working days by the end of January.

With the high resourcing levels being applied by Openreach across the UK, including contractual and voluntary overtime, coupled with improved resource flexibility, Openreach are on track to restore normal service levels across the UK by the end of January, although parts of the Wessex region will take slightly longer (i.e. early Feb)

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

During this very busy period Openreach have worked to maintain the balance between answering calls promptly whilst clearing the back office work necessary to ensure orders and faults are progressed as quickly as possible by their engineers in the field.

Our KPI charts show current performance levels.

Plan & Build

Delivery performance continues to improve with CDD performance (i.e. on time delivery measured against Contractual Delivery Date) 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 2013.

Intensive investigations are ongoing (between Openreach, BT/TSO & CPs) to identify the root causes of a small number of CP PoP-site power failures which occurred during 2013.

A major Openreach programme is also underway to ‘change out’ a large volume of obsolete UPS (uninterruptible power supply) units with a modern unit. This will help to improve overall PoP-site reliability.

Ethernet Services

Service delivery issues on the delivery of Ethernet Orders remain an area of major CP concern. Openreach have announced a structural reorganisation of their operational management team and an increased focus on recovery of backlogs. There are a number of initiatives underway to try to get the Job Control functions working more effectively (such as clustered working and template responses) which are still working through the system but should assist in improving service to CPs. We will continue to work with Openreach and the CPs to try to resolve the problems.

Deemed Consent application is running at 65/70% of orders with an frequency of 3.4 applications per order
MttP (Mean time to Provide) on Category 2 orders which represent 60-65% of overall Ethernet volume is running at 74 days excluding non Openreach Delays.

The work on defining an improved order journey for EAD orders (EAD2) is continuing with some excellent collaboration between Openreach and industry. There has been a real determination shown in getting to grips with some of the truly difficult issues we face in delivering a good consistent level of service. The task remains huge but a clear approach is beginning to emerge. In terms of the underlying system, the CPs have raised concern about the reuse of the EST system in the design going forward.

Number Porting (Fixed Line)

As Chair of the Number Port Process & Commercial Group, OTA2 continue to work with 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.

Steady 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:

  • Multi-Line 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’. A new enhanced process is targeted for launch at end Feb’14
  • 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. Good engagement now established with BT/TSO with significant improvements now visible to CPs
  • Out of Hours support – To establish an industry-wide OOH support capability to cater for the business community. CP demand forecast has been produced which will be used by BTW to support their internal business case for any development effort needed.
  • ’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

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. 

A new escalations model was launched by Openreach in late September with a view to moving from email to a phone based approach. A Post Implementation Review has been undertaken which demonstrated good communications and collaboration between Openreach and CPs. Concerns were identified regarding the initial tier of contact regarding process adherence and skills amongst Openreach offshore staff. The second phase of implementation has been postponed due to the current high level of weather related escalations being experienced by Openreach.

Business CPs continue to press Openreach for proposals on how escalations might be better aligned to business customer needs since there remains no differentiation between Business and Consumer.

At the most recent Steering Group meeting CPs highlighted their dissatisfaction that of the six key agreed areas of focus, based on the jointly developed KPIs, four had a red RAG status for both a plan and progress and that where analysis of business issues existed this did not appear to have been actioned by areas of Openreach.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • ELF reduction programme
  • Address Data Matching Integrity issues
  • WLR/LLU Process development
  • Ethernet Process Development
  • Ethernet strategic Systems review
  • Strategic Review of Consumer Switching
  • Erroneous Fixed Line Transfers activity
  • Urgent Service Restoration Process
  • Fixed line number porting - Improvements
  • Service levels (LLU/WLR/Ethernet)
  • Minimum Security Standards
  • Plan & Build Performance Issues


Rod Smith