OTA2 Update for April 2019

At the end of April 2019, the number of unbundled lines stands at 10.06 million. There are 4.26 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.71 million.*

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

Ethernet

Service delivery remains challenging with planning performance remaining problematic. Additional resource has been brought into the planning areas and a significant volume of additional jobs have been tackled. We will continue to monitor the output stats and review to ensure that service returns to an acceptable level.

Openreach have formally announced their intention to proceed with the Reimagining Ethernet Programme (REP). CPs have raised some concerns over the potential impact of having two order journeys for the same product running in parallel and would like to explore the prospect of making changes to the existing EMP based procedures and policies to facilitate better control and fluidity of working.

The move to EMP for all EAD orders reached the first critical milestone with all new orders now only able to be placed on EMP, any placed on ECO-x will be turned back. There is a WIP of around 5-6K of orders to push through ECO-x before it is shut down for EAD orders completely. Volume asset migrations will continue through till July and a final sweep of outstanding assets will happen in December. Any outstanding orders left over in December will be evaluated and where necessary the CPs may be asked to rekey the order into EMP.

Passive Infrastructure Access

The revised PIA product is now in operation. There are a number of areas which the Passives IWG has identified as needing review and more work. OTA2 are actively working with Openreach and the CPs to define and close these areas of issue and have set the on-going (listed below) Passives IWG agenda to keep them in sharp focus. The Passives IWG will continue to run monthly. The main areas of further focus are:

The main areas of further focus are:

  1. Network Adjustments, as well as making the process of validation and authorisation fit for purpose,
  2. Developing the capability to define project areas, grouping multiple NoIs together,
  3. The management of areas within an NoI (Notice of Intent) which are ready to connect customers,
  4. Reviewing the learnings from the Network Adjustments Proof of Concept (PoC),
  5. Developing a meaningful forecasting mechanism,
  6. Developing a comprehensive set of SLA covering the ancillary services Openreach need to support.

Separately Ofcom is engaging Openreach to develop a set of meaningful KPI’s to ensure no undue discrimination.

WLR3 Withdrawal

A jointly chaired steering group was hosted at TalkTalk premises in Manchester. It was attended by CPs, wholesalers, CNI (Critical Network Infrastructure) representatives and representatives from the healthcare and alarm industries. It was clear from the meeting that the message is getting through and the challenges are now being recognised. Time was spent understanding the challenges of the healthcare providers although ultimately solutions around IP would be required. Openreach are keen to establish co-operative test facilities with CPs and users although responses have been slow. A draft approach developed by OTA2 and Openreach on orphaned assets was presented and will be further developed for the next meeting. The next steering group will be in London in June hosted by OTA2.

SLA/SLG

At the January CFPCG, Openreach informed industry that they wished to review the Missed Appointment charge for WLA products. This will be undertaken under the 6-month OTA2 facilitated process. Openreach presented its rationale and data supporting their case for a reduction in early March and re now considering the response provided by industry at the end of March.

Automatic Compensation

The technical delivery by Openreach, supporting the April launch of the Automatic Compensation was in place for the April launch by those CPs supporting the scheme. Some issues were identified within the KCI supporting Missed Appointments, but this has not affected payments to end customers. No issues have been flagged with late Provision or Repair. Collaboration and bi-lateral calls to ensure that any issues are identified promptly for resolution.

Consumer Switching

All IP - Migrations Testing Programme (AIP-MTP)

At the request of Ofcom, OTA2 have established a new industry programme aimed at pre-validating the migration processes which Gaining CPs will be using to support the anticipated ramp-up in demand from End Users to switch from their existing copper-based phone services to new VOIP-based services.

Testing is progressing slowly with 1 or 2 issues arising which are now receiving prompt attention by the relevant parties involved. Whilst these issues were not anticipated, it does confirm the value of doing these tests in the first place.

Phase 2 will extend the testing programme to encompass more complex supply chains involving other wholesalers and their reseller partners.

Number Porting developments

The ongoing spread of fibre-based broadband services (coupled with the well-publicised retirement of TDM-based phone services) is expected to stimulate consumer demand to switch over to a VOIP-based phone service. As part of this transition, most End Users will likely insist on retaining their telephone numbers and this has prompted a major re-examination of the current number porting processes to ensure they can cope with the anticipated demand.

Blockchain Proof of Concept (PoC) – Potential strategic solution

The project is intended to trial the inherent characteristics of blockchain technology to assess its potential and suitability for each of the following numbering related use cases:

  1. number management (i.e. Ofcom function)
  2. number porting (i.e. industry function)
  3. CLI authentication (i.e. to counter nuisance calls)

The Number Port Executive Steering Group (NPESG) have developed a detailed draft ‘requirements’ statement against which the Blockchain ‘Proof of Concept’ is being evaluated.

The POC platform build is progressing well and remains on track.

Improving compliance and tackling complaints

The Number Port Process & Commercial Group (NPP&CG) are progressing the introduction of a new ‘port override’ process to counter the growing volume of complaints to Ofcom from subscribers and CPs. The current plan is to finalise the process design in April followed by full launch in May 2019.

Once established this process will allow port orders to be expedited where a subscriber’s legitimate request to port their number is being inappropriately blocked or frustrated.

Service Levels

Copper & Fibre Provision

Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 5.3, 6.5, and 6 working days for Copper, Fibre (MI) and Fibre (SI) installations respectively, over the 5-day period ending 28 April 2019 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

(Note: MI and SI are Managed-Install and Self-Install respectively).

Copper Repair

LLU and WLR ‘on time repair’ performance continues to maintain an improving trend, achieving 4 week rolling average of 90% and 89% respectively, by week ending 26 April 2019.


* The figures quoted exclude BT downstream connections

Rod Smith