OTA2 Update for April 2016

At the end of April 2016, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.82 million. There are 4.62 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.93 million.

The following is an update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2.

SLA/SLG Work streams


The status is that following negotiations, agreement in principle has been reached on five of the proposals submitted. These will now proceed to the agreement of the final details and implementation plans.

Openreach have tabled an offer on a further proposal which OTA2 is hopeful will prove acceptable to CPs. On four of the proposals, OTA2 considers that agreement will not be reached. OTA2 remains hopeful that progress can be made on the remaining request but agreement cannot be reached within the 6-month window (ending 10 May 2016), so a short extension will be required to complete this.

Ethernet EAD

Voluntary discussions on a revised set of SLA/SLG to support the proposed BCMR commenced in July 2015. The most significant change sought by CPs is the abolition of Openreach Deemed Consent. Although some progress was made, both parties remained a significant distance apart. Discussions were in stasis awaiting a level of agreement and consensus between Openreach and Industry regarding the underlying order processes against which any SLA/SLG will apply. CPs have decided to review their existing proposals and to formally resubmit under the framework for negotiations provided by the BCMR, however the timing and scope of these have yet to be agreed as some external factors, such as the Ofcom “Own Initiative” review on Deemed Consent may have a material impact on the start point for negotiations.

Service Management Forum (SMF)

A full PIR (Post Incident Review) was presented back to the SMF on the three major system incidents; Faraday, Rochdale and eMLC. The review exposed weaknesses in communicating problems to CPs. A set of proposals were made to CPs to improve the communication process at times of system failures. Full details are included in the Openreach presentation.

A comprehensive update was given on the View My Job (VMJ) and associated Contact Routing pilot on the portal. The objective is to present a timeline view of a provision order instead of a series of updates through order and fault tracker. The pilot is due to run until 6 June 2016 and involves 14 different CPs. Developments involving B2B access are still under review.

CFPCG (Copper & Fibre Product and Commercial Group)

Long Reach VDSL (LR-VDSL)
LR-VDSL is an access technology which has the potential to raise broadband speeds on long copper lines (lines above 2km from the DSLAM). In view of this Openreach is proposing a small-scale (maximum c.200 lines) Proof of Concept (PoC) in order to assess the performance of this technology in the live network. Openreach proposes to start in early May 2016 and run the PoC for approximately 3 months. The PoC is open to CPs with existing GEA-FTTC lines in the PoC area with qualifying target lines and Openreach are currently working with impacted CPs.

Question Based Closure (QBC)
QBC is a process that is being introduced on the engineers terminals that more accurately captures details on closure of a job. Today this has been deployed on the CDTA journey. Openreach are now looking to roll out QBC for LTNOK on Copper (referred to as QBC+) which would offer functionality tailored for this journey.  The intent would then be to update this for CDTA/SFI2 and BB. Openreach are seeking to work with CPs to approve the approach and associated questions.

Fibre To The Premise (FTTP)
Openreach provided an update on the FTTP trials that are underway which are aimed at making the final customer order journey as swift as possible.  To allow CPs to understand whether an order will be a 1 or 2 step process Openreach are planning some pre-order changes around September 2016.  To facilitate this additional survey network notes on eMLC/Dialogue Services will be introduced to help CPs identify the address status and where the FTTP network has been proactively built. 

Ethernet Service

Ethernet delivery remains challenging, despite the significant effort to make improvements the lead times have remained significantly greater than either Openreach or CPs would like. Openreach are engaging in a major focused programme to clear the ‘toxic tail’ of circuits which will have an impact on the reported MttP but is vital to get the product to a stable state.

Passives Industry Working Group

The whole area of Passive Access Products has taken on a greater significance due to the announcements contained in the DCR recently published by Ofcom. Openreach are working through the issues raised over the past few meetings and will bring proposals for fixing the issues over the coming months.

In support of the work to improve the PIA product the CPs are invited to test and trial some of the proposals for improving the product. The details of the trials and the associated trial criteria are to be discussed and agreed over the next few weeks.

A dedicated workshop looking at the challenges of services delivered from poles was held on the 13th April. There are a number of issues involved in the deployment of services via poles and the workshop was specifically positioned to only focus on the engineering and physical issues. The session was very useful in distilling a number of the challenges and the next step is to determine the extent of the scale of loading on poles to determine if the provsion of additional drop-leads would be feasible.

Dark Fibre

The launch event for the introduction of the Dark Fibre remedy was held 21 April 2016. The session was very well attended by CPs. The engagement process and the development of the reference offer will now swing into action with monthly meetings of the industry working group chaired by OTA2. We will be providing more updates as this process progresses.

Consumer Switching

The Consumer Switching Industry Forum continues to target improvements across a number of areas:-

Supplier of Last Resort Process
This is the process which Industry will need to enact if a particular CP at any point in a given supply chain is unable to maintain service continuity for their Customers (e.g. the CPs business ceases to trade at short notice, for whatever reason). Ofcom have tasked the forum with reviewing the existing ‘supplier of last resort’ process to ensure it is ‘fit for today’s purpose’.

RID (Reseller ID) Process
New Best Practice Guide under development. This is an important piece of data, which is incorporated into the Migration Ordering Process, such that the identities of both Gaining & Losing Parties are registered against each transaction. This data can then be used to assist in resolving any issues which may surface during or subsequent to each transaction.(e.g. slamming complaints)

Consumer Switching Gaining Provider-Led NoT Process
On-going attention to the effectiveness of this process in delivering a seamless switching experience for Consumers e.g. minimal service downtime, CP supply chain complexities.

Number Porting

CP Performance Dashboard
CP/OTA2 bilateral discussions are underway to agree actions for improvement.

Business Order Handling
Very poor order rejection rate (i.e. 50%). Targeting specific improvements across the CP Business Market community

Cancel Other
Growing incidence of CP misuse is preventing consumers from porting their numbers away. There is a need to align GC18 (Number Porting) with GC22 (Fixed Line Consumer Switching) - Work in progress

Emergency Restoration Process
Existing process is undergoing a complete overhaul.

Infrastructure Services

Openreach Service Delivery Performance
A good performance is being consistently maintained. CP PoP consolidation is becoming the dominant activity

In-life PoP-Site Reliability
Is significantly improved due to obsolete UPS changeout programme having been completed, as well as improved engagement between Openreach’s Access Ops Centre andCPs

Access Locate Contract
A joint Openreach/CP Review of ‘permitted use’ definition is in progress

Service Levels

Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 6 -7  working days for Copper & NGA Fibre, during the week ending 20 April 2016 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

Copper Repair
LLU & WLR ‘on time repair’ performance continue to track an improving trend, achieving 76%, for week ending 11 March 2016

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
  • Dark Fibre/Passives



Rod Smith