OTA2 Update for April 2015

At the end of April 2015 the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.71 million. There are 5.58 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.04 million.

Service Level Agreements and Guarantees (SLA/SLG)

At the request of Ofcom, OTA2 were required to facilitate negotiations in situations where CPs or Openreach felt that new SLA/SLG were required or where existing SLA/SLG needed to be changed. The initial list of eight industry requests for review was completed and a summary of the SLA/SLG status was provided within the January 2015 update. All changes to the contracts have now been notified.

Three additional SLA/SLG proposals have subsequently been made. The date for conclusion of these discussions was anticipated as 17 January 2015. Of these, two have been completed. On the outstanding proposal, “Delivery of GEA in an operational state”, an SLA has been agreed but at the end of the 6 month negotiation period no agreement on the SLG quantum was reached. All parties agreed to extend the negotiations for a short period in the hope of reaching a settlement, however, it did not prove possible to reach an adequate level of consensus. OTA2 has, therefore, informed all parties that it intends to refer the matter to Ofcom.

Consumer Switching  - Current Status

Openreach have scheduled a number of ‘dress-rehearsal’ windows (March-May 2015) whereby the new ‘NoT’ (Notice of Transfer) functionality will be ‘switched-on’ in their live (EMP) environment for short periods to afford CPs a good opportunity to fully exercise their own NoT developments well ahead of the ‘actual’ cutover on 20 June 2015.

The first dress rehearsal test window (28-29 March 2015) involved a small number of major CPs who successfully exchanged test orders to validate their respective NoT developments.

The following dress rehearsal (25-26 April 2015) did not go as smoothly but did serve to highlight a couple of CP specific issues which would otherwise have gone unnoticed. These defects are now being addressed by the CPs concerned and will be re-tested well before the target cutover planned for 20 June 2015

There are 2 more dress rehearsals planned which will involve a larger number of CPs participants.

OTA2 Tasks

As an output from Senior Industry meetings, OTA2 are required to facilitate programmes that the meeting members believe have a high level of opportunity to improve interworking between Openreach and its customers. These programmes concentrate on the end-to-end process. Updates against current programmes are:

Fast Recovery

There are a number of areas where Openreach are unable to complete a repair within SLA for reasons beyond their control. This task is to look into those areas of failure to investigate where improvements could be made. A ‘T2R’ (Trouble to Repair) analysis has been undertaken to expose the three major areas of failure which present an opportunity namely:

  • Specialist Skills are required to complete (5.84%),
  • Needs Civil Engineering (3.83%)
  • CP Issue beyond Openreach control (3.43%).

These areas are currently under review with key CPs to determine potential improvements however CPs initial views are that a large majority of the issues are not within their control other than the obvious no access.

Communication tasks

OTA2 have been holding reviews with Openreach and CPs on progress, completions and benefits. The expectation is that some of the tasks have been completed and the opportunity exists to look at new issues. An initial review has now almost been completed with Openreach and a number of new areas identified. These areas are now being scoped for presentation to CP’s

Cancellation of appointment by Openreach for New Provide.

The original “visit saved” tactical process used by Openreach was not available to all CPs. This has been resolved for all MPF CPs. Next stage is for CPs to consume a strategic solution that was deployed by Openreach in January/February. It was identified that some CPs were not using the correct process to ensure a site visit when needed.

Customer expectation around new site and line plant delays:

  • Improvements in point of sale and order delay update process via dialogue service changes. A range of strategic improvements are to be deployed during 2015.

Management of customer address changes during CP transfer:

  • 80% fall into manual process due to data inconsistencies. Improvements in Gold address management to reduce number of manual fall outs.

Problems of informing customers when an appointment has been missed:

  • Review of Openreach practice for in house and contractor processes revealed a problem for resolving problems requiring network repair on the day for contractor-led provides.

Improvement in the quality of the fault information that CPs give:

  • Openreach corrected problem with forwarding CP notes to the Engineer. Openreach is now reviewing what further information would improve the engineer visit.

Early Life Failures

Although the overall trend is for ELF’s to improve there have been some problems around the ELF performance for orders (MPF and WLR) using the Start of Stop provision process.
Significant progress has been made since the last update in establishing the root cause of the ELF deterioration of Start of Stop. Three areas have been identified.

  • Test code ‘pass’ changed allowing faulty stopped lines through. Now corrected.
  • Confused practice regarding jumpering of FTTC ceases in cabinet. Briefings underway.
  • Missing instructions on removing jumper to re-stablish ADSL service. Being corrected.

Number Porting (Fixed Line)

The Number Port Process & Commercial Group (NPP&CG) is a multilateral industry forum which is attended by many CP stakeholders who, as number range holders, all share a legal obligation (Ofcom GC18) to allow their numbers to be ported away to other CPs when requested to do so.

The processes which enable these ‘number ports’ to happen were originally specified during the 90’s and are now being overhauled by the current industry group to improve efficiency and reduce the significant cost of failure incurred by many CPs when handling port order transactions.

The group is wholly dependent on CP stakeholders volunteering their subject matter experts to collaborate in delivering the improvements needed.

As an indication, these are some of the higher priority tasks currently being worked on by the industry group:-

  • To establish a Performance Dashboard
  • To improve Number Port Escalation performance
  • To establish Out of Hours Support for Number port-related loss of service & escalations
  • To stop Erroneous ports, dropped prefixes & Dispute Resolution

Service Levels

Copper Repair: Copper repair performance (LLU & WLR) has been stable in recent weeks with ‘on time repair’ averaging 74% during February 2015.

Copper Provision: Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, is stable averaging 6.5 working days during the week commencing 20 April 2015 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

Our KPI charts show current performance levels.

Service Management Forum

In collaboration with Openreach and Industry OTA2 will chair the SMF to allow all CPs to concentrate on the contribution to the forum. Over the next few meetings the intention is to lift the forum to a more programme strategic approach capturing cross Industry concerns of the top 4 or 5 concerns. CPs are working on a collaborative view of their prioritised issues.

Ethernet Services

Service Provision remains an area of focus for the CPs. CDD measurements show an improved position back to +95% whilst the recovery of MttP is taking longer than all parties would like. Openreach SMT are very focused on this area and are implementing new measures and controls to gain a better production management environment over this complex area. There is no silver bullet solution to improvement but as this area now has significant focus it is anticipated that improvement will begin to happen in the near term and the backlog will begin to be eroded.

In support of the focus around improved service, the work on DC7 no access has started with two working session looking at the underlying issues and how CPs manage the challenge of getting good site contacts for engineering visits.

The DOJ trial (Differentiated Order Journey) has commenced in the designated trial area in the North West. A weekly review call has been set up and the mechanism for sharing order information between all parties has been agreed. There will be a slight lag now as the orders progress and then the work of analysis and review can start.

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
  • Consumer Switching Harmonisation Programme
  • Erroneous Fixed Line Transfers Activity
  • Urgent Service Restoration Process
  • Fixed Line Number Porting - Improvements
  • Service Levels (LLU/WLR/Ethernet)
  • Plan & Build Performance Issues



Rod Smith