OTA2 Update for June 2019

At the end of June 2019, the number of unbundled lines stands at 10.04 million. There are 4.27 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.72 million.*

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

Ethernet

The focus remains on service delivery and especially on the performance through the planning stages. The work to shrink the workstack is ongoing and will take some time to fully materialise.

Analysis of the EMP interactions and most especially on the quality of orders entering the system has thrown up some issues on order quality and the true extent of system-based order validation. Openreach are also working to re-establish the quick–win process for orders which can be delivered without major civil engineering. Openreach are also working on resolving a process issue where orders which require a ‘Rod & Tube’ activity are not giving a KCI2 until all the provision work is completed, which protracts the messaging back to the CP and no contract point is reached.

OTA2 will continue to monitor and work with Openreach to get to a better position.

The Reimagining Ethernet Programme (REP) concerned CPs have written to Openreach with an alternative approach to implementation, Openreach are assessing the CP request and will respond in the next couple of weeks. There does appear to be significant common ground between the two approaches.

The EMP migration of assets is 99% complete with 270,000 assets migrated, all new orders are being taken on EMP and the Work in Progress (WiP) left on Eco-X is being run down with the aim of having as few as possible left at the end of the calendar year where decisions will be made to manually lift the remainder onto EMP.

Passive Infrastructure Access

Ofcom has published a draft of the proposed PIMR making the PIA product usable in all the available markets. The draft has been sent to the EU commission for review and comment. Publication of the final statement subject to EU approval is expected this month.

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 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:

  1. Network Adjustments, working with Openreach to develop a clear process for how NA will operate, what criteria is being used to validate the veracity of any claim and how the creation of trusted status will operate for both CPs and Openreach. Openreach will present proposals at the July IWG.
  2. Developing the capability to define project areas, grouping multiple NoIs (Notice of Intent) together. Working through the details of the Openreach proposals to ensure it fits the majority of scenarios. Openreach will present their proposals at the July IWG.
  3. The management of areas within an NoI which are ready to connect customers. Working through the details of the Openreach design to ensure that there is no delay to CPs wanting to build and connect customers. CP can connect customers and notify Openreach. The rentals for the connection and any associated network will be accrued until the NoI is completed and then charged.
  4. Developing a meaningful forecasting mechanism. This is an area which requires a dedicated session to develop a view of the challenges associated. It is anticipated that for large scale build programmes the problem of developing a forecast is not as difficult as it would be for more targeted disconnected works.
  5. Developing a comprehensive set of SLA covering the ancillary services Openreach need to support. The data to review the issues surrounding giving clear SLAs needs to be captured as part of the bedding in period.

Work to develop a set of meaningful KPIs to ensure no undue discrimination is ongoing with Ofcom and Openreach. The first cut of data was shared with CPs at the IWG. It is clear that this work will take some time to fully crystallise.

SLA/SLG

At the January CFPCG, Openreach informed industry that they wished to review the Missed Appointment charge for WLA products via the OTA2 facilitated process. This is being undertaken under the 6-month OTA2 facilitated process. Negotiations are on-going and CPs are awaiting bilateral discussions based on CP specific data.

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 but these did not affected payments to end customers. As no major issues were identified the Industry Working Group has now ceased although bi-lateral calls between Openreach and CPs remain to ensure that any issues are identified promptly for resolution.

Dark Fibre

In anticipation of the final BCMR statement by Ofcom in late June, activity has commenced to support the implementation of a Dark Fibre reference offer by Openreach and ‘soft launch’ early August. The first industry working group hosted by the OTA2, was held on 20 June 2019 with Openreach and interested CPs.

WLR and Fibre Exchange Trial Consultations

The OTA2 hosted an industry update on the consultation issued by Openreach proposing how WLR withdrawal and copper withdrawal (FTTP and SOGFAST only) could by trialled in two separate geographic areas. Ofcom also attended and presented stating their support to this approach in readiness for an all IP network based primarily on fibre deployment. An amount of regulatory governance would be required for these trials which would be consulted on by Ofcom following the response and outcome of the Openreach trial proposals.

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.

Phase 1 testing is limited to a small group of major retailers and their respective wholesale partners. The tests are progressing steadily although various porting-related issues have surfaced requiring prompt remedial attention before the tests can be satisfactorily completed.

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 the need to further automate the porting processes involved.

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) continue to refine a comprehensive ‘requirements’ statement against which the Blockchain ‘Proof of Concept’ (POC) capabilities can be evaluated.

The POC project is now in build mode, with a target completion date of the 31 July 2019, at which point the stakeholder community will be invited to test the platform.

Improving compliance and tackling complaints

The Number Port Process & Commercial Group (NPP&CG) have now signed-off the new ‘port override’ process which is designed to counter the growing volume of complaints to Ofcom from subscribers and CPs. The new process is due to be launched on 8 July 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 6, 6.9, and 6.7 working days for Copper, Fibre (MI) and Fibre (SI) installations respectively, over the 5-day period ending 21 June 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 88% and 87% respectively, by week ending 14 June 2019.


* The figures quoted exclude BT downstream connections

Rod Smith