OTA2 Update for January 2016

At the end of January 2016, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.84 million. There are 5.51 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.94 million.

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

SLA/SLG Work streams

Copper and Fibre

A 3rd tranche of SLA/SLG had been 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 four of the proposals. These will now proceed to agreeing the 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 all 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.

Service Management Forum (SMF)

At the January SMF a review was held on the service challenges due to the weather conditions over the last few weeks. Up to 8 MBORC’s were raised using the previously agreed process. All agreed that this process of update and data sharing has been a success. The FAD (First Available Date) stayed close to SLA for most areas. The major concern is around an increase of missed appointments. Openreach have been reviewing this and have a number of initiatives under way and will report back as soon as possible.

Feedback was also given around the customer contact consultation. Overall, CPs were not keen to extend Openreach contact with end customers although recognised that there were situations that needed to be reviewed and improved. To this end, a small working group will be set up to review these processes and scenarios.

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 have had initial discussions with Openreach who are in the process of putting together a proposed plan. The intention is to share these proposals with key CPs early in February. This will act as the work plan to be reported back to industry.

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).

Openreach have notified the proposed contract changes to move the EAD product delivery to a differentiated order journey, based on category lead times. The proposal is for the changes to be ‘opt-in’ by default (so CPs would opt out – to remain on the normal 30 days + subject to survey). The initial step is to move the Product Description and contract to reflect the easier to deliver circuits with Category 1 to have lead-time of 30 days and Category 2.1 circuits to have a lead-time of 57 days. In addition, the contract will reflect the removal of the ‘on or about’ day 14 to provide a much clearer on or before day 14 for the notification of CDD and final ECCs. CPs have some serious concerns over the proposals to handle wayleaves which Openreach will need to address.

Ethernet on EMP continues to drive a considerable amount of discussion and activity. The second meeting of the ETSG (see below) was held at the beginning of January. It is apparent that the need to get to an agreed system scope and definition is very challenging against the background of what has already been developed. Openreach are proposing a different approach to defining the baseline and delta against the requirements identified in the two hothouse sessions, the DOJ trail and the CID workshops. A CP working group session is planned to take the CPs through the first round of analysis.

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 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

A renewed interest in the use of the Passive Infrastructure products – Passive Infrastructure Access & Sub Loop Unbundling have lead to the reconsitution of the industry working group.
A number of CPs have begun developing propositions using the existing products and they have raised a number of issues encountered in their use. A CP issues list has been developed and shared with all the stakeholders. Over the coming weeks this will be further refined by the CPs and a priority of importance added to reflect the potential impact and to state the issues CPs would like to tackle first. In the interim Openreach have already made some headway in tackling a number of the challenges raised by the CPs.

A second area of activity for the group is to look at the challenges created by the placement of competitive distribution infrastructure, street funiture and especially the use of poles and dropwires to serve urban residential properties. Pole siting and crossing wires in the same airspace leads to a number of service and asthetic challenges, for which there are no existing rules or guidance. Openreach have produced a set of guidelines which industry need to consider and respond to.

One issue surfaced by the CPs is the potential for a conflict to arise where an SLU CP has vectored their VDSL cabinet and a subsequent CP attempts to deliver a second VDSL based service to the same cabinet area. This has become apparent in some of the rollout areas under the BDUK programme. Openreach have proposed a process for providing visibility to CPs and the BDUK rollout teams as to the cabinets already SLU unbundled or under development.This proposal is with the interested CPs for consideration. Further investigation of how BT systems will present information to consumers as to availability of services is still required, currently this appears to return an incompatible service flag which is not helpful to consumers trying to make informed decsions.

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 5 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. Various actions are underway to improve the process for handling multiline orders as this appears to be the main root cause.

OTA2 are progressing bilateral performance reviews with 2 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,

The forum will provide the opportunity for all Stakeholders (including Ofcom) to share any concerns or issues they have regarding Consumer Switching and to initiate appropriate plans for improvement.

Service Levels

Copper Provision: Despite the significant weather-related challenges evident across large parts of the UK, Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 9.4 working days during the week ending 21 January 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’ dropping to 67% (for combined LLU & WLR) during the week ending 18 December 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 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