OTA2 Update for February 2016

At the end of February 2016, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.85 million. There are 5.48 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

A 3rd tranche of SLA/SLG were submitted on 10 November 2015 comprising of 10 proposals; six from CPs and four from Openreach. These are being dealt with under the FAMR process, so the formal end date of negotiations is 10 May 2016. One proposal (Payment of missed appointment SLGs cancellations) has been split to allow provision orders to be dealt with separately to faults.
The current status is that following negotiations agreement in principle have been reached on five of the proposals. These will hopefully now proceed to agreeing the final details and implementation plans. On another four of the proposals, OTA2 considers that it looks unlikely that agreement will be reached. OTA2 remains hopeful that progress can be made on the remaining requests.

Ethernet EAD

Voluntary discussions on a revised set of SLA/SLG to support the proposed BCMR were initiated in July 2015. The most significant change sought by CPs is the abolition of Deemed Consent. At this time, although some progress has been made, both parties remain a significant distance apart. Discussions are, however, 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. It is hoped discussions may recommence late March or early April.

Service Management Forum (SMF)

In addition to normal business, time was spent reviewing the recent network incident with Openreach CIO. The CPs appreciated the feedback although showed some frustration at the delay in communications during the time of the incident. Openreach agreed that they would include this in PIR (Post Incident Review) and report back to the SMF.

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.

OTA2 hosted a task meeting group to cover the three areas under review. The next step is to break the initiatives down between Openreach and CPs, with another workshop anticipated within a month.

Ethernet Services

Service delivery remains the area of most concern to CPs, in particular the lead-time for delivery across Category 2 orders (c85 days) and the Category 3 orders (c185+ days).

The first phase of the implementation of having differentiated lead times based on complexity has been implemented with orders in the Cat 2.1 now being given a 57-day lead-time. The changes have been made as part of a national pilot which will be enacted into the contract in April after the requisite notice period of 90 days.

Ethernet on EMP continues to drive a considerable amount of discussion and activity. The second round of deep dive workshops looking at the existing capability of the EMP platform and the needs of the CP users will take place on 7th & 8th March.

There remains a significant challenge in moving the programme forward at pace to meet the CP requirements for a better experience as well as the need to get off the legacy platform.

Ethernet Transformation Steering Group (ETSG)

Following a review between the OTA2 and Openreach it was agreed that a senior level steering group should be established with representative CPs to oversee the development and introduction of EMP for EAD provision. An initial meeting in December and a follow up in January has been held.

The prime focus has been how to establish the agreed requirements and contrast it with the current deployment of EMP to establish a full gap analysis. Supporting workshops have been held with a key meeting planned in the first week of February with CPs. Ultimately a minimum feature set will be identifed that will serve as the migration target for CPs. On completion of this initial work a fuller plan will be shared on next steps and way forward.

Passives Industry Working Group

The Passives IWG is now fully established into the meeting schedule, meeting on a monthly basis. There have been a number of small but significant improvements in the product and its supporting processes which have been well received by the CPs. A broader prioritised issues list has been developed with industry and Openreach are beginning the process revews required to address the challenges raised by industy.

Number Port - Process Improvement Programme

Performance Dashboard – At the instigation of OTA2, the Industry 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 7 months) suggests the most pressing problem impacting CPs (and their End Users) is a 50% ‘rejection’ rate which, in turn, is driving significant re-work, protracted order-handling times & consumer complaints. A number of specific actions are now underway to improve the process for handling multiline orders as this appears to be the main problem area .

OTA2 are progressing bilateral performance reviews with all the major CPs who are consistently under-performing against industry-agreed SLAs for order handling. The objective in these discussions is to agree CP-specific action plans designed to improve performance.

Consumer Switching

The recent move to a fully harmonised Gaining Provider-Led (GPL) process for Consumer Switching across the Openreach copper network will require a high degree of on-going industry governance to ensure the switching experience for Consumers is of the highest standard.
The 2nd Consumer Switching Industry Forum (CSIF) was held in January & was well attended by a broad range of Stakeholders
Our initial aim is to ensure the E2E (end-to-end) processes needed to support Consumer Switching are-

  • fit for purpose
  • fully specified
  • fully documented/published,

Ofcom have tasked the forum with re-viewing the existing ‘supplier of last resort’ process to ensure it is ‘fit for today’s purpose’. 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 services to their Customers (e.g. the CPs business ceases to trade at short notice, for whatever reason)

Service Levels

Copper Provision: Despite the occasional weather-related challenges, Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 8.5 working days during the week ending 19 February 2016 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

Copper Repair: The adverse weather conditions since December 2015 has severely affected Copper repair performance (LLU & WLR) with average ‘on time repair’ remaining flat at 67% (for combined LLU & WLR) up to the week ending 8 Jan 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

Members of the OTA2 team also chair several Industry forums:-

1) Copper & Fibre Products Commercial Group (CFPCG)
2) Copper & Fibre Products Process Group (CFPPG)
3) Service Management Forum (SMF)
4) Number Port Process & Commercial Group (NPP&CG)
5) Ethernet Transformation Steering Group (ETSG)
6) Ethernet Commercial Group (ECG)
7) Infrastructure Service Forum (ISF, ex-Plan & Build Forum)
8) Consumer Switching Industry Forum (CSIF)


Rod Smith