Telecommunications Adjudicator update for April 2021
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in April 2021.
At the end of April 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.13 million. There are 4.14 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.07 million. *
We will continue to host all industry fora online until such time that participants return to travelling normally across the UK. With the latest announcements, we are all looking forward to the restrictions easing and reviewing a return to some face to face meetings in the next few weeks and months.
Please all keep safe and well.
The following is an update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2.
The outlook for EAD orders remains positive with service levels remaining healthy. Volumes are slightly more volatile than before the pandemic but are well under control in terms of orders to completions.
Optical Services are following EAD with good levels of service being reported.
Passive Infrastructure Access
The PIA Product continues to evolve as the demand for the product and the number of active CPs grow. There are now more than 120 registered CPs.
The PIAPCG remains focused on several areas requiring improvement to either processes or systems. We are starting to see some of the system API developments begin to take shape and tested with CPs. The systems interaction with its fortnightly collaboration sessions is also working well. Openreach are keen to see more feedback from CPs in relation to the systems development time frames, content and checking of how robust the interface is.
The programme of works for the PIA product continues to develop. Active workstreams currently running to improve the product and its usability for CPs are:
- Build Complete
- Duct Overlay
- Connecting Customers
The review of scale build capabilities is beginning to take shape. The proposals for U/G are settling on a Path to Collaboration based approach to allow CPs to operate in a less transactional way for Network Adjustments. The proposals for O/H are looking at developing a longer range forecast of poles and using Openreach pole test data to select any poles which require changing before the CP starts their network build. Customer connections are being reviewed through an SOR raised by one of the PIA CPs.
Copper and Fibre
Negotiations on proactive testing have made good progress in recent weeks and have almost reached conclusion for a proof of concept (POC).
Openreach had previously indicated that it planned to implement a clause in the FTTP contract that allowed for SLGs to be withheld where Openreach experienced any unexpected build issues. This had been implemented from the start of February, but industry consider this was contrary to what had been inferred previously. Openreach agreed to provide data from February and March to demonstrate the level of impact and this will be presented to industry in May. Currently Openreach, continues to pay SLGs.
Openreach have initiated a review of the product policy and the commercial construct for FTTP, which will affect the Product Description, Contract and associated schedules. This is likely to take several months to complete.
All-IP Steering Group
The All-IP steering group continues to work well providing a good interaction on issues and concerns. The forum commenced planning on the programme of activity required to manage the active migration of customers off legacy products addressing aspects such a roles and responsibilities within the process, timelines, roadblocks etc.
Openreach has commenced a trial of the use of pre-2000 fibre on routes less than 40km. Industry has requested that the trial be extended and that circuits up to the full 86km route distance be considered.
Openreach have proposed an update to SIN 525, which defines the technical specification for the service. Following discussions with industry it is hoped that, subject to Openreach internal governance, agreement has been reached on the changes.
The WFTMR will require a number of changes to the DFX Reference Offer. The areas to be addressed have been agreed with industry and Openreach and discussion will be progressed at the IWG.
Dark Fibre Access (DFA) commenced on 15 April 2021, which was well attended by industry. Going forward the IWG will cover both DFX and DFA. Given the need for Openreach to publish its reference offer in August, not all issues raised by industry are likely to be resolved within the RO timescale.
No concerns have been raised regarding performance as measured via the DFX performance metrics.
Consumer Switching & Number Porting
The ‘One Touch Switch’ Process (formerly EECC Fixed Line Switching and Porting)
Ofcom have now published their ‘follow-on’ consultation which included Ofcom’s decision regarding their preferred solution – The ‘One Touch Switch’ process
Subject to CP feedback received by 14 April 2021, Ofcom aim to publish their policy decision statement during Q2 2021.
The published timeline is as follows: -
14/04/2021 – CP Responses to consultation received by Ofcom – extended from 30/03/2021 after revised submission from Option X published by Ofcom.
Q2 2021 – Ofcom publish policy decision statement
Q2 2021 – Ofcom publish consultation on General Conditions (GC) changes and removal of the Openreach Notification of Transfer process.
Q3 2021 – Ofcom publish statement on GC changes necessary to implement policy
19/12/2022 - Providers need to comply with the new switching and porting rules, that is that the ‘One Touch Switch’ (OTS) process is fully established.
In their consultation Ofcom suggested it would be helpful for industry to begin preparatory work for implementation prior to the publication of Ofcom’s policy statement (Q2, 2021). Ofcom have formally asked the OTA2 to engage with industry in this.
Porting Alignment with the ‘One Touch Switch’ process
OTA2 continue to work with the Number Port Executive Steering Group (NPESG) to develop a roadmap which achieves 2 primary objectives: -
- To establish the most effective way of aligning the number port process with the new ‘one touch switch’ process, by December 2022.
- To transform number management & porting in readiness to meet the demands of an All-IP environment following the planned withdrawal of legacy TDM networks & analogue services (i.e. by 2025)
Several improvements have now been launched, which were designed to improve the order handling process for business customers where complex reseller supply chains are typically involved.
Further improvements are underway as follows: -
- For single-line residential port orders, to re-engineer the existing process to reduce the minimum lead times to match the lead-times expected of the new ‘One Touch Switch’ process
- To simplify the existing port order transaction template to facilitate increased automation
- To establish a new ‘Bulk Transfer’ process to facilitate wholesaler ports.
- To review the existing order handling & activation processes employed by the small group of mass volume CPs who service the residential market, to identify opportunities for improved throughput and reduced cost of failure.
Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, over the 5-day period ending 22 April 2021 was follows: -
|Service Installation type||FAD First Available Appointment Date (Backstop SLA = 12 days)|
- MI and SI are Managed-Install and Self-Install orders
- FTTC is Fibre to the cabinet
- FTTP is Fibre to the premises
- SOGEA is Single Order Generic Ethernet Access
- GFAST is Fibre-base Ultrafast Broadband
LLU and WLR ‘on time repair’ performance has been tracking an improving trend, achieving a 4-week rolling average of 90 % and 88 % respectively, by week ending 16 April 2021.
Due to the performance data not being available this month, the Ethernet KPI charts have not been updated.
*The figures quoted exclude BT downstream connections
Signed David Halliday