OTA2 Update for July 2017

At the end of July 2017, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.81 million. There are 4.47 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 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 will, however, continue over the summer to ensure there is a common understanding prior to recommencing discussions. This extension was also agreed with Ofcom.

Service Management Forum (SMF)

The July SMF focussed heavily on Openreach's internal review of what causes a CP to contact Openreach and the opportunity to avoid these cost of failures. The presentation was extensive in showing the areas of concern. Many of these areas can be fixed through internal changes, modifications and developments. It's not clear when and how these will be addressed and Industry look forward to hearing more from Openreach on their future plans.

One area that has been drawn out is how to improve the SMC escalation process which 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 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 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 now successfully completed an independent assessment of 2 of the most important KPIs which Openreach frequently share with CPs as a basis for stimulating discussions for improvement:

Missed Appointments for Copper/NGA (Provision & Repair)
The Openreach Missed Appointment KPI presented to industry, provides an accurate & true account of Openreach Missed Appointments performance.

Ethernet Provision Appointment Furthers
(This relates to when an Openreach Engineer unable to complete appointed task, therefore a re-appointment is needed)

The joint EAO/OTA2 audit could not provide the required assurance that this KPI (as presented to industry) was fully accurate. The measure can only be viewed as a general indicator and does not provide a solid basis for driving industry-wide analysis and actions for improvement.

Openreach have accepted the audit’s findings and have given undertakings to implement the team’s recommendations.

FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet), Self-Install, ELFs (Early Life Failures)
Work has now commenced on the 3rd KPI to be audited.

CFPCG (Copper & Fibre Products Commercial Group)

OTA2 submitted a draft SOR in advance of the revised Voluntary Speed Code of Practice from Ofcom that seeks to address the shortfall with the current Openreach systems for ten percentile upload speed and actual speeds for both ADSL and VDSL. It is expected this will be fully submitted in August.

The CFPCG have asked the Chair to escalate their concerns around the poor response, over a long period of time, to issues affecting the way CNS is managed with CPs and end customers. This has been raised with the MD Products and Commercial.

A detailed update was provided on SOGEA and SOGFAST. In particular insight was provided on how the test capabilities were being evolved for SOGFAST.

The XdB rollout has continued successfully demonstrated by various presentations. What has been noticed is that the non XdB FTTC services fault rates have remained higher. This anomaly is being reviewed.

Ethernet Service & Dark Fibre

Service performance remained steady with all of the standard service measures trending in a positive direction. Work on the mid-point SLA (KCI3 in Eco-x and KCI2 in EMP – the contracting point of the process) is continuing to determine if any adjustment is required to the Day 14 measurement point. We will continue to maintain a focus on service perfomance as we move through the summer months where resource and access challenges are not uncommon.

DFA continues to move through the developmet stage towards product launch.

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 drive an increased level Industry-wide compliance with today’s processes and SLAs therein. Most CPs recognise the importance of adhering to the industry-agreed order handling processes, and therefore take their responsibilities very seriously, regardless of whether they are a gaining or losing CP.

Unfortunately, there is a growing minority (i.e. mostly small, IP-based, business-focused CPs) who appear not to fully understand their obligations under GC18 and lack awareness of the port order-handling processes.

The situation is exacerbated due to the fact that the existing processes have not moved with the times and contain many weaknesses which are the subject of a separate tactical improvement programme.

Strategic Transformation
The Steering group are developing requirements for a new ‘fit for purpose’ operating model which addresses the weaknesses of the current model AND meets future needs. There have been 2 previous attempts (2007, 2012) by industry to ‘transform’ the industry process for number porting in the UK that, for various reasons, did not come to fruition.

Whilst the journey from here to full implementation of a new ‘fit for purpose’ operating model is, as yet, to be defined, the stakeholders are, nonetheless, very keen to develop a common understanding of their collective ‘requirements’ and to explore the strategic options available to them.

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 is due to be published on the OTA2 web-site in August 2017.

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.

Service Levels

Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 9 working days for Copper and NGA Fibre installations combined, over the 5-day period ending 22 July 2017 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

Copper Repair
LLU and WLR ‘on time repair’ performance has been relatively stable, achieving 83% and 80% respectively, for week ending 16 June 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