OTA2 Update for July 2015

At the end of July 2015 the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.75 million. There are 5.5 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.0 million.

The following is an update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2. Members of the OTA2 team also chair several Industry forums, among which are Copper & Fibre Products Commercial Group (CFPCG), Service Management Forum (SMF), Number Port Process & Commercial Group (NPP&CG) and Ethernet Commercial Group (ECG).

A major focus for OTA2 in recent months has been the tasks set out by Ofcom in the Fixed Access Market Review and the Business Connectivity Market Review, both of which require OTA2 to work with Openreach and Industry to review areas where SLA/SLG measures might be amended to better meet the needs of all stakeholders.

SLA/SLG Work streams

Copper and Fibre

Activity on the second tranche of Copper and Fibre SLA/SLG proposals have now been completed and OTA2 submitted its report to Ofcom in May.

With regards to the specific proposal concerning the delivery of GEA in a working state, an SLA was agreed but consensus was not reached on the SLG. Whilst OTA2 did not recommend immediate action by Ofcom, it did suggest Ofcom consider whether a framework/guidelines for SLG payments should be established.

SLA/SLG Policy - Business Rules - Whilst working through the process of developing new SLAs/SLGs (in line with Ofcom’s overall approach to the Fixed Access Market Review) it was recognised that the existing arrangements for managing exceptions and application of SLGs were not fully understood by all parties. As a result a collaborative piece of work to document the ‘as-is’ status of all instances where SLA/SLG’s are applicable has now been completed and published.

SLA/SLG Refinement - Finally, a number of questions arose from the original processes that were lodged with Openreach for comment/clarification via the Copper & Fibre Product Commercial Group (CFPCG). Openreach reviewed these questions further as they also had concerns about some of the ways SLA/SLG’s were being applied. We now have a list of 11 issues that have recently been passed back to the CFPCG for further work. It was agreed that: -

  • 6 of the issues would be incorporated into the OTA-managed SLA/SLG negotiations,
  • 3 would require further process investigations,
  • 1 would be considered as a possible Openreach development and finally
  • 1 represents a request for assurances from Openreach regarding their own internal SLG compliance checks.

Ethernet EAD

A review of the SLA/SLG regime for Ethernet EAD has now commenced. An initial submission was made by CPs to Openreach at the end of June specifying proposals for changes to the current regime. This has been under consideration by Openreach and a joint Openreach / CP / OTA2 meeting was held on 28 July 2015.  A number of actions and clarifications have been agreed and we will report progress as things develop. The target date for completion of the negotiations is December 2015.

Harmonised Switching Process Successful Outcome!

Following a series of ‘weekend’ dress rehearsal test exercises in recent months, the final step to introduce a single Harmonised Switching process across the Industry was successfully accomplished on 20 June 2015 by means of a industry-wide ‘live cutover’.

With effect from that date, consumers looking to switch providers will only have one switching process to follow, the gaining provider-led Notice of Transfer (NoT) process. The pre-existing MAC-based process has now been withdrawn.

To date no major issues have been observed.

Service Management Forum (SMF)

Following discussions between Openreach, Industry and OTA2, it was agreed that OTA2 would take over as the chair of the SMF. This presents an opportunity to reposition the forum to better meet the needs of both Industry and Openreach. Greater focus has been given to the Lead to Cash (L2C) and Trouble to Resolve (T2R) transformation programmes as well as developing key in-life measures set against CP priorities. The initial ‘CP priority’ is to focus on ‘no access’.

Proposals have also been made to improve the effectiveness of the Customer Management Centre by introducing a case management process under certain conditions. Following good engagement with CPs, Openreach have delayed the trial to take on board CP feedback and to ensure that the anticipated benefits can be delivered.

Early Life Failures (ELFs)

After several months of investigation, reviews and corrections to the ‘Start of Stop’ order-type, ELF performance has returned to almost normal levels. The intention is to now understand how the wider spectrum of ELF root causes can be further reduced.

OTA2 tasks

OTA2 have been working with Openreach on the development of three new tasks.

  • How to achieve 100% provision on the day
  • How to move from reactive to proactive fault repair and avoidance
  • Broadband Faults – understanding customer solution based on ‘big data’ exchange.

A draft outline of the first two tasks has been developed primarily drawing from the Openreach transformation teams with the third previously scoped. The intention is to share more details towards the end of August allowing Openreach to clarify further opportunities.

SOGEA (Single Order GEA)

Openreach have been sharing their SOGEA design proposals with Industry via the CFPCG & a series of focus workshops.

For migrations scenarios (i.e. Consumer switching from existing WLR/MPF-based service to SOGEA-based ‘derived’ voice service with new CP), the initial design proposal to ‘parallel run’ the old & new services for up to 7 days, was rejected by Industry due to the conflicting contractual issues that would exist between the two CPs concerned and the consumer, during the period of parallel running. It was however agreed that the ‘parallel-running’ approach would work for a ‘same CP’ upgrade scenario.

In addition to the initial proposals from Openreach, Sky has now submitted an SOR for a SOGEA access product without the copper test leg but with a test capability provided within the cabinet. Other CP’s are reviewing their interest in this ask.

Ethernet Services

The Business Connectivity Market Review has been issued by Ofcom and is out for review and comment. Stakeholders are requested to raise any issues with Ofcom in the consultation period.

Service delivery to CDD (Contractual Delivery Date) has been maintained at 95%+ however the MTTP (Mean Time To Provide) remains a concern with no perceptible improvement showing yet.

Priority areas for CPs are the activities carried out by Openreach’s contractors where lack of feedback and information flow has caused significant headaches for Openreach’s customers. There appears to be a ‘toxic tail’ of jobs which have been out with these contractors for a considerable amount of time and CPs are flagging that they need this ‘tail’ to be resolved quickly.

The DOJ (Differentiated Order Journey) trial in the North West is continuing and we are beginning to see delivery of the first orders from the more complex categories. The analysis of these jobs and their underlying tasks is of real interest as it will begin to expose where the systemic process issues lie.

A series of workshops has commenced, the output of the workshops will be a fully documented set of process and procedures that will define the EAD service delivery process. The documentation which is being produced and the supporting ‘swim lane’ diagrams and detailed message exchanges, will provide the definitive reference point for all future system changes, from the development of the strategic system (EMP) to charting any proposed process changes linked to improvement initiatives.

Number Port - Process Improvement Programme  – Jim Reilly

Performance Dashboard – At the instigation of OTA2, the Industry Group (NPP&CG – Number Port Process & Commercial Group) have now launched a new performance dashboard which will enable the group to monitor their collective order handling and port activation performance. This will help the group to identify areas of weakness and to prioritise initiatives for improvement.

This dashboard remains critically dependent on CPs (i.e. as many as possible) supplying their respective performance data to OTA on a routine monthly basis. So far, only 3 CPs have ‘signed-up’ to supply their performance data although others have indicated their ‘support in principle’.

Service Levels

Copper Provision: Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, is stable averaging 8 working days during the week commencing 19 July 2015 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

Copper Repair: Copper repair performance (LLU & WLR) has been stable in recent weeks with ‘on time repair’ averaging 74-75% during July 2015.

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