OTA2 Update for February 2019

At the end of February 2019, the number of unbundled lines stands at 10.09 million. There are 4.28 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

Service delivery performance remains strong overall. Volumes of orders continue to grow, and demand is continuing on an upward trend. The challenges in Planning performance and hitting the SLAs are beginning to show signs of improvement but we are not yet back to the levels seen before the dip in performance.

Openreach have formally announced their intention to proceed with the Reimagining Ethernet Programme (REP). Building on the feedback from the CPs who responded to the consultation Openreach will produce a scope document to share with CPs in the next month.

Ethernet on EMP continues to progress over 90% of the order volume running through the EMP platform. There are some issues surrounding some of the supporting information contained within orders and cancelation liabilities, this is being reviewed to see if it is a simple omission from the scope or a defect to be remedied.

Passive Infrastructure Access

The DPA reference offer will be published in draft on 4 March 2019. Work will continue beyond the implementation date on improving the product offering, recognising the launch of the reference offer is the start of the new product not the final position. We will continue to work with Openreach and CPs to operationalise the product and ensure it meets the scale aspirations of CPs.

The main areas of further focus are:

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

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

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. The next step is for Openreach to present its rationale and data supporting their case for a reduction. This is scheduled for early March.

Auto Compensation

The technical delivery by Openreach, supporting the April launch of the Automatic Compensation scheme agreed between Industry and Ofcom, continues on track. There has been good collaboration on the testing which has identified some minor issues that have subsequently been resolved. Contract discussions appear on track to allow timely notification.

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.

Agreement has been reached regarding the proposed scope and test criteria which will be used to validate the switching process and any associated number porting.

A test schedule is beginning to firm up whereby Phase 1 participants (i.e. BT Consumer, BT Business, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, Virgin Media, BT Wholesale, Openreach) will ‘pair-up’ in the next 2-4 weeks to commence the necessary bilateral testing, with each CP performing the role of ‘Gaining’ CP in turn.

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

The proposed test criteria are primarily concerned with validating full compliance with the relevant Ofcom General Conditions (C7 - Consumer Switching and B3 - Number Porting).

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’ can be evaluated.

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 March followed by a trial to commence in April 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.

WLR Withdrawal Programme

The latest Steering Group was held in Birmingham in February. In addition to the normal review of focus groups, time was spent exploring the challenges of Critical National Infrastructure through the eyes of the water industry. It is clear that a better understanding is required as to the challenges faced by such groups and a separate focus group will be set up to examine these areas. The key dates of stop sell in 2023 and final closure in 2025 are some time away but will require all CPs (using WLR) to transition to an all IP service in good time.

Service Levels

Copper & Fibre Provision

Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 6.1, 5.8, and 6.8 working days for Copper, Fibre (MI) and Fibre (SI) installations respectively, over the 5-day period ending 20 February 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 89% and 86% respectively, by week ending 15 February 2019.


* The figures quoted exclude BT downstream connections

Rod Smith