OTA2 Update for August 2017

At the end of August 2017, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.79 million. There are 4.45 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.80 million.

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

Ethernet EAD -SLA/SLG Work Stream

The EAD SLG negotiations relating to the quantum has now exceeded its 6 month limit as specified by the BCMR.

Progress has been made regarding both parties developing their own understanding of the cost impact of Openreach failure on the CP. There has been a sharing of how each side has modelled the costs. A key element affecting any quantum is reaching a common view of the impact of transferring non-customer Deemed Consent from the CP clock to Openreach; such that the SLG closely mirrors the approach taken by Ofcom within the BCMR for measuring performance against the Minimum Service Levels. This work is ongoing but has not reached its conclusion.

It was agreed by all parties, including Ofcom, to formally suspend further EAD SLG negotiations until early September due to the availability of personnel over the summer period. Then on recommencement, to allow until end October to reach agreement on the quantum. Work on the impact of transferring non-customer Deemed Consent to the Openreach clock continued over the summer. Negotiations recommence on 11 September 2017.

Service Management Forum (SMF)

The SMF just held calls over August primarily concentrating of current performance, MBORC and improvement of the Early Life Failure performance for self-installed FTTC. Some improvement appears to have been made on FTTC ELF's and it appears that progress will be made through a number of small initiatives rather than a single improvement.

The SMC escalation process has been identified by CPs as unsatisfactory. The proposal is to introduce a Bronze, Silver and Gold process coupled with a set of criteria. A trial is proposed and workshops with CPs are underway.

CPs have again raised their concerns about the premium help desk primarily around the loss of skills for agents dealing with the query. Openreach held a workshop and is now working on actions including the sustainability of business level skills at the desk.

The new Openreach service targets were examined in more detail. Concerns from some CPs remain around the more specific targets of product, L2C, T2R etc. A CP paper has been developed and sent to Openreach for comment.

Openreach KPI Assurance

A joint OTA2/EAO (Equivalence of Access Office) team has commenced an audit of one the most important KPIs which Openreach currently share with CPs as a basis for driving actions for improvement: FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet), Self-Install, ELFs (Early Life Failures).

This is the third in a series of such KPI audits originally commissioned by the OTA2 Executive and which is fully supported by Openreach.

CFPCG (Copper & Fibre Products Commercial Group)

Four new SoRs were submitted in draft for discussion and four agreed for submission, these being:

  • SoR 8489 – Outage Notification
  • SoR 8490 – NGA Modification Pricing
  • SoR 8491 – Requirement to support new voluntary speed code of practice
  • SoR 8492 – Working beyond the NTE

Openreach informed industry that a connectivity quality problem with its later style of MDF blocks had been identified which could be causing intermittent broadband performance on some customer lines. This was discovered towards the end of 2016. A remedial work programme has already addressed circa 50% of blocks. The remaining blocks will be rewired by the end of the financial year 2017/18. Openreach has decided to waive all chargeable repairs for issues reported on all lines connected to these blocks until they are fixed. This applies from 1st January 2017. CPs are reflecting on the Openreach statement and offer.

CPs expressed frustration that a request for clarification regarding aspects of Openreach policy on replacing NTE had not been responded to. This had been escalated from the Billing Forum to the CFPCG some months ago and has been causing issues between CPs and their customers regarding charging.

Ethernet Service & Dark Fibre

Service performance across the summer months, which is often a period of difficulty, has performed well and maintained the levels of delivery seen before the summer leave started.

Work on developing the EMP platform to accommodate the very complex needs of the Ethernet products is continuing. As detailed previously we have created a discrete programme structure with supporting industry groups. The Ethernet Transformation Steering Group (ETSG) provides an overaching programme control function and the Ethernet on EMP Industry Working Group, provides the environment for the detailed Sysytem and Process review, taking requirements from concept through to delivery, ensuring CPs needs are considered and addressed. CPs are requested to support the working group as it is their opportunity to shape and develop the future capabilities of the EMP platform.

All work on the Dark Fibre Access product has been suspended following the CAT court judgement. No further activity is expected until the full details of the tribunal decision are understood.

Passives Industry Working Group

Further work on the mapping tool has been undertaken with asset selection from the screen now available.

A review of the accreditation requirements and the availability of suitable training facilities has been undertaken to get beneath the challenges of having suitable accredited operative available in sufficient numbers to make PIA viable. CPs are considering how they will move things forwards and further discussions within the working group will take place.

Number Porting

The Number Port Executive Steering Group is now well established with healthy support being provided by a good cross-section of Industry Representatives.

Currently, there are 2 areas of focus:

Tactical Improvement
The primary aim here is to improve our number porting processes whilst driving an increased level of Industry-wide compliance with today’s processes and SLAs therein.

The Steering Group are planning to introduce a new 'Industry Self-Governance Regime' with strict 'Terms of Reference' which all CPs will be invited to recognise and over time improve performance.

Strategic Transformation
The Steering group are also developing requirements for a new ‘fit for purpose’ operating model which addresses the weaknesses of the current model AND meets future needs.

Consumer Switching Industry Forum (CSIF)

New Consumer Switching Best Practice Guide
This guide has been developed to give Industry Stakeholders comprehensive guidance in all matters relating to Consumer Switching.

The guide brings together a vast array of important information, which, hitherto, could only be obtained by searching various web-sites (e.g. Ofcom, Openreach, OTA2).

The new guide has now been published on the OTA2 website.

Supplier of Last Resort (SOLR)
The Consumer Switching Industry Forum (CSIF) have been developing a guide which sets out a number of key stages which need to be undertaken by a CP (e.g. the wholesaler) if one of their resellers is forced to close down (e.g. insolvency, contract breach) at relatively short notice. Once the SOLR process is triggered, the headline objective thereafter, is to ensure there is minimal (if any) service disruption to end users, with particular emphasis on protection for vulnerable consumers.

A final review of the guide is planned for late September 2017 and will be published on the OTA2 website soon after.

Service Levels

Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 8.5 working days for Copper and NGA Fibre installations combined, over the 5-day period ending 29 August 2017 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

Copper Repair
LLU and WLR ‘on time repair’ performance has been very stable, achieving 83% and 79% respectively, for week ending 28 July 2017.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • 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
  • KPI Assurance



Rod Smith