OTA2 Update for April 2014

At the end of April 2014 the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.28 million. There are 5.70 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.21 million.

OTA2 Task updates

All of the original tasks have now been closed with the exception of the work on Early Life Failures (ELFs) which is updated below. The programme has been very successful in delivering tangible benefits, saving unnecessary engineering visits, aiding more accurate provisions and improving customer experience. Given this success, we are now working with Openreach and Industry to agree what further opportunities exist to streamline processes to the benefit of Customers.

Consumer Switching

As directed by  Ofcom’s recent Statement on Consumer Switching (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/consumer-switching-review/statement/), Industry stakeholders have been set the following 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.

To that end, a series of Switching Process Implementation Group (SPIG)- Working Group sessions have been held with Industry stakeholders (starting in January 2014) and, despite a tentative start, a top-level programme plan is now visible with system design/development activities already underway within Openreach & all the major wholesalers.

A lot of focus is being directed at identifying every opportunity to deliver some of the key building blocks as early as possible in order to ‘de-risk’ the amount of change needed on the day of final cutover (20 June 2015).

Ofcom Consultation on Fixed Access Market Review (FAMR)

Ofcom published their Statement on this subject on 19 December 2013. 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 OTA2 Executive meeting in January, a proposal from Sky was reviewed which suggested that OTA2 commence work with Industry to consider improvements that might be made to the SLAs/SLGs offered by Openreach, to try to agree a prioritised work stack and then to move onto facilitating industry/Openreach negotiations. CPs developed an industry agreed short list and submitted detailed proposals to Openreach prior to Easter for 8 SLA/SLG they wish to pursue. Openreach have given an initial response to these and face to face discussions will commence in the first part of May.

ELF (Early Life Failure) Concerns

This has proved to be a very important project for both CP’s and Openreach. For CP’s this represents the most important customer engagement in the establishment of a new contract and service with the customer. Future relationships are always impacted by this first action. For Openreach, this represents a major cost of failure by not trapping problems before service is established.

Breakdown of order types revealed that the performance of non visited provides were significantly worse. This also extended into the visit save process.

Progress on MPF Start of Stop has been made showing a steady month on month reduction. This has been achieved by improving the healthy/unhealthy markers which drives the opportunity to deliver provides without visits. The programme started at the end of 2013 has now been completed.

A number of other problems around frames instructions and testing have also been identified.
Openreach have put together a glide path for improvement set against a number of actions. A full work programme has been shared with OTA2.

Issues around CP diagnosis have also been found and are being worked through.

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. Following the first meeting in February a wide range of feedback was given by CP’s and is under review with Openreach. A second meeting has been arranged in May where the next steps will be reviewed.

Service Levels


Repair: Despite continuing high volume of Faults raised (26% up on previous year), the Openreach ‘right first time’ repair performance has improved significantly in recent weeks and is tracking an improving trend for the first time in many months.

The reasons behind the marked increase in fault volumes (year on year) is currently the subject of discussions with Openreach at the OTA2 Executive

Provision: Openreach’s National  FAD (First Available Date)  performance (i.e. Appointed provides) is currently running at 8.9 working days, which is well within the industry-agreed  SLA of 12 working days

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.

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

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 remains a major issue for Ethernet orders there has been a slight improvement in the lead times but they are still running unacceptably high.

MttP for EAD orders (aged orders removed)
(Data from 15th April ESF slide pack)
All CCts = 51 working days
Cat1 CCts = 43 Working days
Cat2 CCts = 60 working days
Cat3 CCts = 93 Working days
Cat4 CCts = 55 Working days

Openreach continue to apply focus on trying to improve the service delivery, with initiatives in the job control area but any recovery is very slow to materialise.

The product improvements and future developments have been brought together under a single programme header of Ethernet Evolution. Openreach are currently undertaking a series of bilateral discussions with CPs to gauge interest in specific development proposals with the output being brought back to the whole of industry.

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 –A new enhanced process was successfully launched at end-March with benefits already materialising in terms of reduced ‘cost of failure’ for all participants involved.
  • 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: The ‘Best Practice Guide – Working Line Takeovers-Migrations & ELT Avoidance’ is undergoing a major re-fresh to take account of new learning points derived from the most recent ‘root cause analysis’

Urgent Service Restoration (USR): Following a number of process improvements, CPs are now using the USR process with a greater degree of success, than was previously the case.

Business Market Service Improvement Programme

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

The key area of Business CP discontent has always been escalations. Whilst a new escalations model was only launched by Openreach in late September 2013, management changes within Openreach have led to further changes in escalations strategy, with a recentmove towards implementing a proactive rather than reactive approach to jeopardy and recovery management.

Initially CPs had highlighted six key areas of focus, based on the jointly developed KPIs, where collaborative activity would be focused. The scale of new Jeopardy and Recovery activity is such that CPs have decided to scale back their involvement with 4 of the key areas due to conflicting demands on personnel and in recognition of the importance of the JRM activity.

In view of this the frequency of collaborative meetings is to be reduced from monthly to quarterly.  

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