OTA2 Update for October 2015

At the end of October 2015 the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.85 million. There are 5.55 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.95 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:-

  • Copper & Fibre Products Commercial Group (CFPCG),
  • Copper & Fibre Products Process Group (CFPPG)
  • Service Management Forum (SMF),
  • Number Port Process & Commercial Group (NPP&CG)
  • Ethernet Commercial Group (ECG).
  • Infrastructure Service Forum (ISF, ex-Plan & Build Forum)
  • Consumer Switching Industry Forum (CSIF)

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
Work on implementing the agreed changes associated with the initial tranches of SLA/SLG amendments is now largely complete. A further tranche of proposals from both Openreach and CPs will be considered as they have confirmed they will be making submissions. It has been proposed that these will be “formally” exchanged on 10 November 2015 to allow for an update and timetable to be discussed at the following days CFPCG.  On this basis discussions would need to complete by mid-May.

Ethernet EAD
Further to activity initiated in July, CPs and Openreach continue to review the changes to SLA/SLG proposed by CPs. The most significant change CPs are seeking is the alignment of occasions when Deemed Consent may be applied to the proposed rules of application within the BCMR. At this time, although some progress has been made, both parties remain a significant distance apart and the target date for completion of the negotiations, of December 2015, is unlikely to be met. Matters have been complicated as elements of the discussions are predicated on factors outside of the SLG discussions, such as agreement on underlying processes.

Service Management Forum (SMF)

The October SMF covered the current performance of Openreach and plans to create resource flexibility in advance of the winter period. Overall the industry reaction was positive so long as future network improvements were not put too much at risk. A fairly comprehensive update was given on new site activity including reduction of tails. It is clear that great progress has been made in improving the position for consumers. Questions were raised about success in the business developments and parks. Openreach agreed that it would try and provide greater insight into the different types of developments.

Openreach presented on change control following concerns raised by CPs of operational changes not always following understood change control practices.  It was recognised that Openreach and industry should work closely on improving these processes.

Finally following the recent publication of the Openreach charter, a discussion was held on Openreach concerns around how it could best engage with end customers in a way and with an approach that would be acceptable to CPs. Openreach stated that it would like to send out a consultation and then review its findings at the SMF. Obviously this is considered to be a highly sensitive area with CPs which Openreach would like to have a very open discussion on.

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 solutions based on ‘big data’ exchange.

The OTA2 are now in dialogue on how best to develop the ideas documented by Openreach with a view to wider Industry engagement.

Ethernet Services

Service delivery to CDD (Contractual Delivery Date) has been maintained at 95%+. The MttP (Mean Time to Provide) picture is quite complex, the short duration Quick Win and Category 1 orders seem to be going faster(c25 days), whilst the Category 2 seem to be getting slower (c85 days) and the Category 3 orders are significantly slower (c185+ days). There is also a growing issue with the tail of old orders sat in the pipeline (>185+ days).

Openreach have recognised the challenge of the ageing tail of open orders and are making attempts to tackle the backlog but this will take some time and will inevitably affect the MttP statistics as the old orders are flushed through the system. As part of this activity Openreach have announced a WIP (Work in Progress) amnesty, which will allow CPs to cancel any circuit that is older than 90 working days. Openreach will waive the cancellation charge for these circuits, although any ECCs incurred will be charged. This amnesty will be available to CPs for the month up to Christmas.

Ethernet on EMP has come more into focus with the findings from the DOJ trial and the CID workshops highlighting the need to have a more capable support system. OTA2 have begun to have dialogue with Openreach to see how we can develop a consumption plan for CPs. There are a number of elements to any such plan; it needs to cover Product, Operations and the CIO. It also needs to take account of the learnings from both DOJ and CID, but perhaps most importantly it needs very clear senior level ownership to take responsibility for the delivery, implementation and scaling of all aspects and to set direction at the points in the programme which competing demands need to be met.  Working with Openreach, OTA2  have begun to develop a new model  for engagement and project governance with the aim of creating a more dynamic model for managing the CP interaction and taking account of the different models operated by CPs.

The plan is to share these proposals with the CPs quickly and have the governance in place by November.

Number Port - Process Improvement Programme

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.
The performance data received so far (last 3 months) suggests the most pressing problem impacting  CPs (and their End Users) is a very high order ‘rejection’ rate which, in turn, is driving significant re-work and protracted order-handling times. This issue will be a major focus of attention/improvement in the coming weeks.

This dashboard remains critically dependent on the regular supply of CP performance data.

Consumer Switching

The first Consumer Switching Industry Forum (CSIF) was held 22 September 2015 following the successful ‘Harmonisation’ Programme which completed in June 2015.

This initial forum was attended by a good cross-section of CP Stakeholders & representatives from Ofcom.

The forum is aimed at providing the opportunity for all Stakeholders to share any concerns they have regarding Consumer Switching and to formulate any improvement activities which may be needed.

One such workstream which is now well underway is a task to produce a comprehensive ‘Best Practice Guide’ for RID management (Reseller ID). RIDs play a significant role throughout the whole consumer switching journey and CPs need definitive guidance in the way RIDs should be properly administered.

Service Levels

Copper Provision: Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, is stable averaging 7.6 working days during the week commencing 19 October 2015 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

Copper Repair: Following the deterioration evident during August, Copper repair performance (LLU & WLR) now appears to be back on an improving trend with ‘on time repair’ averaging 67-71%.

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 Industry Improvement Programme
  • Urgent Service Restoration Process
  • Fixed Line Number Porting - Improvements
  • Service Levels (LLU/WLR/Ethernet)
  • Infrastructure Service improvement programme

Rod Smith