OTA2 Update for April 2018

At the end of April 2018, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.93 million. There are 4.40 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.78 million. There has been a small variation on numbers this month. This appears to be down to normal market activity rather than any major change.

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

SLA / SLG

Copper/Fibre 

Following Ofcom’s publication of its final statement on Automatic Compensation, OTA2 received a request from several CPs to initiate formal negotiations with Openreach regarding a number of aspects that CPs consider are affected by their new compensation obligations. Openreach tabled its commercial response to the industry asks on 21 March 2018. The industry response would indicate that both sides are some distance apart. Any update to its proposal by Openreach is not anticipated until early May.

The technical enhancements for supporting KCI messages, required to assist compliance, are largely agreed and the development remains on track.

Ethernet Service

Service performance for Ethernet remains in a strong position with deliveries consistently above 1k per week. Openreach are reporting that the KCI1 order validation stage is recovering back to the SLA position of by the end of the next working day for ECO-x orders, we continue to monitor.

The reshaping of the job control function has taken place, the changes have gone well with only minor issues noted. We continue to monitor the implementation as the changes bed in.

OTA2 have begun discussions with Openreach on the future shape of Ethernet delivery in a more integrated single fibre network world. The thoughts are at a very early stage but we are encouraged that the thinking and perspective is taking account of the complexity of the Ethernet product delivery and looking at ways to mitigate and remove complexity where possible.

Passive Infrastructure Access

Duct and Pole Access is a key theme of the Wholesale Line Access Consultation which has now moved from the draft stage into implementation. The April Passives IWG has kicked off the CP engagement process and Openreach have shared their initial view of how they are interpreting the DPA remedy statement. There are as expected some areas, such as mixed usage which will require in depth negotiation.

New Openreach Customer Requirements Process

For both commercial groups Openreach have launched an enhanced approach to the management of SOR’s including the introduction of a Programme Office. This builds upon the work developed through the commercial groups and should lead to further improvements in the future. OTA2 are working with Openreach to agree the transition approach and adoption of new practices. In particular, areas such as Trials and Proof of Concepts should come under better control.

WLR Consultation on Withdrawal of WLR 

Openreach announced that it planned to run a consultation on withdrawing WLR by 2025. This would be in line with BT’s plan to close the PSTN in the same timeframe. There are to be national events which the OTA2 will attend followed by industry reviews on the output of the consultation. This process will be monitored through the CFPCG.

Number Porting

Strategic change

The group have recently submitted a proposal to Ofcom which represents Industry's shared view of how the UK Number Porting operating model needs to transform in order to meet future requirements whilst also addressing current inadequacies.

This proposal includes two specific 'asks' of Ofcom (i.e. Tactical & Strategic) which are aimed at securing official Ofcom endorsement of Industry's efforts to deliver improvements in both the short and medium terms.

An initial acknowledgement has now been received from Ofcom explaining that they are reviewing industry’s two 'asks' alongside a number of other related issues such as IP Interconnect.

Tactical improvements

In the meantime, the industry group are putting the final touches to a new order handling process which it is hoped will materially reduce the significant cost of failure currently incurred by stakeholders in the handling of business market number port orders.

Consumer Switching Industry Forum (CSIF) 

Consumer Switching Best Practice Guide

The CSIF group have commenced a comprehensive uplift of this guide to take account of Ofcom’s recent review of their General Conditions and separately, to incorporate new consumer switching guidance where NGA products are involved (i.e. SOGEA, SOGFAST, FTTP).

Service Levels

Copper & Fibre Provision 

Openreach FAD (First Available Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 6.2 and 6.3 working days for Copper and Fibre installations respectively, over the 5-day period ending 23 April 2018 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

Copper Repair 

LLU and WLR ‘on time repair’ performance appears to be tracking a flat trend, achieving 4 week rolling average of 81% and 77% respectively, by week ending 23 March 2018.

Rod Smith