OTA2 Update for January 2019

At the end of January 2019, the number of unbundled lines stands at 10.08 million. There are 4.27 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.70 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 are beginning to show signs of improvement but we are not yet back to the levels seen before the dip in performance.

The Reimagining Ethernet Programme (REP) is currently being shaped by Openreach in consultation with the CP who contributed to the consultation. Proposals ready for discussion and evaluations will be tabled once they have been worked through and evaluated, looking for benefits for both CPs and Openreach.

Ethernet on EMP continues to progress over 80% of the order volume running through the EMP platform. There are some minor issues around the raw data provided for CPs to build performance reports, these are under investigation.

Passive Infrastructure Access

The DPA reference offer continues to progress.

The main areas of issue are around:

  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. Scoping and agreeing the POC success criteria,
  4. Developing a meaningful forecasting mechanism,
  5. Developing a comprehensive set of SLA covering the ancillary services Openreach need to support.

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.

A 2nd workshop has now been held involving all of the Phase 1 participants (i.e. BT Consumer, BT Business, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, Virgin Media, BT Wholesale, Openreach). We have reached broad agreement regarding the proposed scope and test criteria which will be used to validate the switching process and any associated number porting.

A draft test schedule is beginning to take shape whereby CPs will undertake to ‘pair-up’ on a particular day 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

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 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 commenced work to determine number porting ‘requirements’ for the ‘Proof of Concept’ project.

Improving compliance and tackling complaints

The Number Port Process & Commercial Group are progressing the introduction of a new ‘port override’ process to counter the growing volume of complaints to Ofcom from subscribers and CPs. 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

Following the consultation on WLR Withdrawal in 2018, the OTA2 have been working with Openreach to establish an industry engagement process. The main-focus is the jointly chaired steering group which has now met twice. The next steering group is planned for February in Birmingham. The main challenges will revolve around communication/awareness through the supply chain, covering wholesalers and resellers as well as identifying vulnerable customers and over the top services which can rely on traditional telephone access. 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, 6, and 8 working days for Copper, Fibre (MI) and Fibre (SI) installations respectively, over the 5-day period ending 28 January 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 85% respectively, by week ending 18 January 2019.

Rod Smith