OTA2 Update for October 2014

At the end of October 2014 the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.49 million. There are 5.65 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.17 million.

Service Level Agreements and Guarantees

Following the process established by Ofcom’s Fixed Access Market Review (FAMR), an initial list of eight industry requests for review and amendment of SLA/SLG covering Copper/NGA were submitted in April. Three additional SLA/SLG proposals have subsequently been made; One from Sky and two from Openreach. All will run to their own six-month timetable.

There are weekly meetings between all parties regarding the over-arching Programme. Discussions were generally constructive throughout the process. At the end of the initial six months the status is as follows:

Copper-GEA SLA/SLG Proposal

SLA Status

SLG Status

SLA/SLG 1A – Appointment Availability Target of 6 working days

On-going

NA

SLA/SLG 1B – Forecasting regime and linkage to SLGs

NA

Not Agreed

SLA/SLG 2  - Providing a Contractually Committed Date [CCD] within a maximum timescale

Agreed

On-going

SLA/SLG 3 – Provision of Non-Appointed orders within a maximum timescale

Agreed

Not Agreed

SLA/SLG 4 - Parity of payments: End-user & Openreach Missed Appointments

NA

On-going

SLA/SLG 5 - Higher SLG payments when Care Level 3 & 4 SLA is not met

NA

Agreed

SLA/SLG 7 – Enhanced Service Credit mechanism for ELF & DoAs

Agreed

NA

SLA/SLG 8 - Cablelink

Agreed

Agreed

SLA/SLG 9 – Availability of Openreach provided AC and DC power serving co-mingling facility and for subsequent remedial work

Agreed

On-going

Despite reaching the end of the six-month period, both CPs and Openreach agreed that a number of the SLA/SLG might be concluded given a limited amount of additional time.  Where discussions remain ongoing, a new deadline of the end of November has been agreed. OTA2 is optimistic that on some of these a mutually acceptable position will be reached within this timeframe.

To date the only impasse has been with respect to the link of forecasting to the payment of SLGs, whereby a link does exist today and some CPs wish to have this link removed. This impasse has prevented reaching any level of agreement in two areas of SLG negotiation. OTA2 does not, however, see any grounds to refer these to Ofcom.

Ethernet CPs also submitted a set of proposals for SLA/SLG discussions on EAD. Openreach confirmed their willingness to adopt a similar approach to Copper/NGA. Negotiations were suspended as some CPs felt they could not support the approach initially agreed by industry with Openreach. Those CPs resubmitted a revised proposal to OTA2 and Openreach and activity recommenced, however this will now be closed down on the basis that a parallel set of discussions have been initiated via the Ethernet Products and Commercial Group.

Consumer Switching

Background

Further to Ofcom’s Statement on Consumer Switching (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/consumer-switching-review/statement/), OTA2 continue to host regular ‘working group’ sessions that have been well attended by a broad range of stakeholders.

What is the Industry task set by Ofcom?

  • By June 2015, to implement a single Harmonised Gaining Provider-led NoT (Notice of Transfer) Switching Process for any consumers intending to switch their voice and/or broadband services to a new Service Provider.
  • Less confusion for Consumers & CP Service Agents as only 1 switching process (versus 2 previously)
  • Gaining provider-led process is simpler for Consumers to understand whilst Losing Providers are less able to frustrate the Consumers’ decision to switch away.
  • Increased competition in market place.

The Challenge

  • Stakeholder community is industry-wide…Openreach, Wholesalers, Resellers and Retailers with a very diverse range of supply-chain trading arrangements which all need to be developed/adapted to handle the new ‘harmonised’ process.
  • Securing effective engagement/commitment from each stakeholder to ensure they are properly prepared for successful cutover in June 2015.
  • All stakeholders need to modify existing order-handling systems & processes by Jan’15 to allow adequate time for thorough end–to-end testing before June’15 cutover.

What’s been achieved so far?

  • Specific focus has been directed towards ensuring all the Wholesalers have plans in place to start deploying elements of the new ‘harmonised’ process well before the target cutover (June’15). This part of the programme is progressing well with some elements already deployed and the balance to be delivered by end Jan’15.
  • Beyond Jan’15, the focus will turn towards getting the downstream Retailer & Reseller communities to complete their own preparations & to participate in comprehensive end-to-end testing well ahead of June’15 as this will help to materially mitigate any risk of issues arising at cutover.

OTA2 Tasks

All of the original tasks have now been closed with the exception of the work on Early Life Failures (ELFs).

The programme has been very successful in delivering tangible benefits, saving thousands of unnecessary engineering visits, aiding more accurate provisions and improving customer experience.

Given this success, we are now working with Openreach and Industry on new tasks to streamline processes to the benefit of Customers.

New OTA2 Tasks

Preventing Failure, to look at to look at the CP elements of the ‘new sites’, which will include areas such as address matching, ordering the right product, setting the right customer expectations, only using escalation paths in valid circumstances.

Fast Recovery, to look at the CP elements of the T2R glass ceiling, such as access, expectation setting, quality of notes and testing, use of appropriate products (CDTA, SFI etc), data sharing. Previous analysis proved too old to be of use. Openreach in consultation with OTA2 have rebuilt and industrialised a data set that gives breakdown by CP and Product. This took some time to build as previously it had been pulled together in an ad hoc approach. Analysis to be reviewed and shared with CP’s over the next month.

Communication, CP’s and Openreach canvassed for most immediate problems. The total list reduced to 5 key tasks. Detailed discussions were held with Openreach on potential cause and opportunity. An initial summary review held with CP’s. Detailed reviews and task setting are now in progress with CP’s and Openreach.

  • Cancellation of appointment by Openreach for New Provide. Customer communications and expectation.
  • Customer expectation around new site and line plant delays
  • Management of customer address changes during CP transfer
  • Problems of informing customers when an appointment has been missed (by either Openreach or the customer)
  • Improvement in the quality, structure and format of the fault information that CPs give Openreach based on the discussion with the customers

MBORC Transparency

In September and October successful trials were conducted using a number of MBORC’s in a final style, format and approach. A user guide has been developed and, in concert with a communications plan, the process will be launched no later than 1st November 2014. A full industry presentation has been run with a second planned for those who could not attend the first. Focus has now turned to reviewing the local MBORC approach and the issues around customer escalations calls in an MBORC environment. 

Reduce Consumer Harm

Ofcom-sponsored (& OTA2-led) programme aimed at reducing Consumer complaints due to Erroneous Landline Transfers (ELTs)

Current status

  • Following a lengthy programme of exhaustive root cause analysis and ‘process improvement’ workshops, we have so far realised a significant reduction in volume of ELT complaints from consumers.
  • A new Working Line Takeover - Best Practice Guide has been developed & published in August’14 to underpin CPs ability to comply with new obligations (Consumer Switching Statement – Phase 1) which became effective in Sept’14
  • Direct Linkage to Ofcom Consumer Switching statement (CPs to achieve Exact Address match when submitting their provision orders)
  • Further work on-going to establish a more effective industry process for urgent service restoration (i.e. for those ELTs which ‘slip the safety net’)

Number Porting (Fixed Line)

Highlights

  • Improved Order Handling & Port Activation processes for  ‘Complex’ Multi-line orders
  • Mass volume CPs (Single Line – Residential Market) – nearly all now automated
  • Business CPs (inc. Openreach Ops) collaborating more effectively to eliminate excessive order handling re-work (i.e. cost of failure)
  • Industry Process documentation completely refreshed and now available to all via OTA2 web-site
  • Commercially-based Out of Hours Porting development (to better serve the Business market) now underway. Targeting Dec’14 launch.
  • Reduced ‘Minimum Lead times’ for Multiline orders (from 17 to 10 days)
  • Industry discussions in hand to also reduce ‘Minimum Lead times’ for Single line Subsequent Ports (from 7 to 4 days)
  • New Best Practice Guide for resolving ‘disputed ownership’ following erroneous ports

Challenges

  • Work on-going to establish an effective means of measuring Industry-wide performance.
  • Emergency restoration process needs improvement.

Service Levels

Copper Repair: Copper repair performance (LLU & WLR) has started to track a gradually improving trend in recent weeks with ‘on time repair’ averaging 75% in October.

Copper Provision: Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, is stable at 10 working days (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

Our KPI charts show current performance levels.

Ethernet Services

Focus remains on the levels of service actually being delivered in the field. Openreach are reporting an improvement in the performance to CDD however the lead-time for delivery remains significantly greater than anyone would accept as being good.
Openreach continue to bring more resources into the Ethernet delivery area and it is anticipated that this will have a positive impact on lead times in the medium term. There has been further activity in trying to develop a new order process for the delivery of service, working on a Differentiated Order Journey (DoJ) set of principles. The aim is to fundamentally change the delivery process to provide more certainty of delivery and much greater transparency where problems arise. Openreach hope to move to a trial  using DOJ principles in the short term - subject to resolving a number of concerns raised by the CPs.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • Business Market Service Improvement Programme
  • OTA2 Tasks on Communication.
  • 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
  • SLA/SLG Developments

 




Rod Smith