Telecommunications Adjudicator update for August 2021
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in August 2021.
At the end of August 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 8.97 million. There are 4.08 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.06 million. *
We have now put plans into place to reintroduce some element of face to face meetings where justified. The next OTA2 Executive meeting will be run as a face to face meeting on 30 September 2021 at Riverside House. Recognising the benefits of both face to face and online meetings we are proposing to blend the two approaches. For the commercial groups we have proposed to meet face to face once a quarter followed by online meetings the next 2 months. Depending upon the success of this method we can review our long-term strategy.
Please all keep safe and well.
The following is an update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2.
Passive Infrastructure Access
Operational performance remains steady even with good volume of both NoI and NA orders.
Systems Improvements – B2B systems activity has continued to slowly ramp up.
Scale Build – Proposals presented to CPs for scale U/G. A number of CPs have registered interest and a number of them have moved through the signing up stage for the POC.
Scale O/H CPs still awaiting formal response from CPs with regards to providing Openreach with a forecast coving the ‘D’ poles they need to have replaced covering a period 12-18 months prioritised by quarters. This would allow Openreach to provide some prioritisation to their asset assurance programme and possibly aid the CPs with having clean estate to build into.
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
EAD has continued to perform well from a delivery point of view. Demand remains healthy. The previously reported impact on planning lead-times remains in sharp focus, we await the latest update on progress, which will be reported at the ESF on 08 September 2021.
Optical Services are following EAD with good levels of service being reported.
Cable Link improvements seem to have made a positive impact, the watching brief remains in place until we can see that the issues have been fully resolved.
Copper and Fibre
An SoR was tabled by industry for a Broadband Inclusive Wholesale tariff to support the expectation of Government and Ofcom to support end customers who are unable to afford adequate broadband connectivity. Openreach have closed the SoR on the basis that offering the rental discounts requested is not feasible on the regulated products included within the SoR. They have, however, proposed a connection discount which is likely to be notified in September for October launch.
An issue has arisen within the reconciliation of historic auto compensation payments up to April 2021 and are associated with cancelled provisions, where the two sides have a differing interpretation of what was agreed. Work is ongoing to resolve this. The position post April 2021 is unaffected.
The Product Policy and the Commercial Construct Review for FTTP, which will affect the Product Description, Contract and associated schedules remains ongoing.
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 is concerned that industry order journeys may not fully cater for the migration needs of vulnerable customers with existing telecare devices and that there is a risk they may be left without a working service. Openreach is therefore offering CPs the chance to develop and test their vulnerable customer processes as part of a formal trial.
The industry working group for Dark Fibre (inter exchange and access) has worked to address and agree the detail required of the Reference Offer, which has been published and the product was soft launched in mid-August.
Some aspects of discussion, which could not be completed prior to the publication of the Reference Offer will be picked up from September onwards. The issues to be addressed have been captured and a timetable for review agreed between Openreach and Industry.
The current DFX trial to allow use of pre-2000 fibre on routes up to the full 86km has completed, although order levels were lower than had been hoped. Industry and Openreach are considering whether there is merit in reopening the trial.
Consumer Switching & Number Porting
The ‘One Touch Switch’ Process (formerly EECC Fixed Line Switching and Porting)
The remaining published timeline is as follows: -
06 May 2021
- Ofcom ask OTA2 to ‘pause’ any Multilateral engagement for time being
- Ofcom publish policy decision statement
- Ofcom publish consultation on GC changes and removal of the Openreach Notification of Transfer Switching process
It is now anticipated that Ofcom will publish a document in Q3 2021
- Ofcom publish statement on (General Condition) GC changes necessary to implement policy
19 December 2022
- Providers need to comply with the new switching and porting rules
Right to Port (EECC Requirement – December 2022)
Under this requirement, CPs must provide number porting to customers that request it for at least a month after the termination of a contract, unless the customer expressly agrees otherwise when terminating that contract. CPs will be expected to ensure customers can contact them regarding porting of a number after the termination of a contract through a variety of means, such as online, by phone or in person in a store.
OTA2 are developing plans with Industry stakeholders to introduce this new requirement by December 2022. A significant delivery of this functionality took place in July 2021, early results indicate a positive impact on Number Porting requests, with orders successfully progressing to completion that would previously have been rejected.
No Direct End User Charges (EECC requirement – December 2022)
CPs must ensure that ‘no direct charges are applied’ to customers relating to the provision of number portability. This removes the current practice whereby CPs who operate in the Business market, may sometimes levy a nominal ‘porting charge’ on the End User.
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 and porting in readiness to meet the demands of an All-IP environment following the planned withdrawal of legacy TDM networks and analogue services (i.e. by 2025).
Initial responses from the NPESG have been positive and further investigations are underway.
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.
Continuing feedback from across industry has identified the need for further investigations into a broad spectrum of Porting issues, due to friction in the associated processes. The coincidence of this and the anticipated requirements to support a new ‘Switching’ process present both a challenge and opportunity to the Number Porting community
Improvements already underway include: -
- In support of the anticipated volume migration from Analogue to IP-based voice services, plans are in place to enhance the associated porting processes.
- 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 (e.g. next working day port activation)
- To simplify the existing port order transaction template to facilitate increased process automation
- To establish a new ‘Bulk Transfer’ process to facilitate wholesaler ports. (i.e. porting at the Wholesaler level)
- To refresh the existing PoV (Pre-order Validation) process in light of recent industry feedback.
Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, over the 4-day period ending 25 August 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 a steady trend, achieving a 4-week rolling average of 86% and 84 % respectively, by week ending 20 August 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