Telecommunications Adjudicator update for December 2020
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in December 2020.
At the end of December 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.26 million. There are 4.23 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.08 million. *
We anticipate that all industry fora that we host will remain online, until such time that all participants return to travelling normally across the UK. As we now find ourselves in the latest lockdown it is clear that any form of face to face meetings are unlikely to occur in the next few months. Hopefully with the benefit of the new vaccines a return to some face to face meetings are at least within sight. Until then we will maintain our online approach.
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 holding up. Focus remains ensuring that the workstack is managed as tightly as possible. Delays and suspensions are reviewed with CPs to keep the work as fluid as possible.
Optical Services following the same trend as we have seen in recent months and settling to more normal levels.
The Cable Link product remains a focus with service improvement plans in place to improve the delivery. Work has started to review the product at a more fundamental level and different delivery proposals are under consideration with CPs to improve the suitability of the product.
Passive Infrastructure Access
The PIA Product continues to evolve, as we see the demand for the product and the number of active CPs grow. There are now in excess of 100 registered CPs.
As previously reported OTA2 have been reviewing with Ofcom how the PIA product can be shaped to better assist the CPs looking at scale build. Initial discussions with CPs & Openreach have taken place at the PIAExecutive Steering Group with further discussions planned for January.
The product itself remains a very active area of both interest from CPs and in terms of systems and product development.
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:
- Missing Inventory
- Build Complete
- Duct Overlay
- Connecting Customers
Copper and Fibre
Openreach and industry have expressed a willingness to engage on proactive testing, with OTA2 acting as an intermediary, with a view to seeking some form of compromise; should this be possible. Negotiations have made good progress and a draft MOU is currently with industry for comment.
Negotiations on the Auto Comp rates beyond 2020/21 have commenced but continue to make limited progress
In April, CPs initiated a formal OTA2 negotiation, under the process established by the 2014 Fixed Access Market Review (FAMR), regarding the 28-day Repeat Fault SLG. This SLG was previously negotiated under the above process in 2016 and implemented in early 2017. Unfortunately, agreement could not be reached between Openreach and industry and the matter has been referred to Ofcom.
Industry and Openreach have been working to align Emergency and Welfare criteria across voice and broadband lines. These criteria changes and further changes regarding reporting welfare cases via the Openreach portal and for escalations went live prior to Christmas.
Openreach announced that that the process that allows paid for Copper services to be provided where premises already have access to FTTP will be withdrawn from June 2021. This change of policy applies to all new sites developments of any size and of all types, both commercial and residential.
All-IP Steering Group
The All-IP steering group met this month to review progress on communications strategy, split CP contracts and the imminent start of the Salisbury “stop sell trial”. The forum is working well providing a good interaction on issues and concerns. Next steps will be to start a more focussed working group on business environments probably in the new year.
Openreach had informed industry that it has identified issues with the quality of testing of some DFX orders. A service improvement plan has been in place for several months and all save one action have now been completed. Improvements in quality are acknowledged by industry.
Openreach has commenced a trial of the use of pre-2000 fibre on routes less than 40km.
Industry had expressed concern regarding the number of issues referred to the Chief Engineers Office which had failed to progress. Industry considers it imperative that the issues are resolved prior to any launch of DFA. Openreach have indicated that industry can expect a response to the issues raised during January.
Consumer Switching & Number Porting
EECC Fixed Line Switching and Porting Working Group (ECWG)
The European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) will update and replace the existing EU regulatory framework for electronic communications within the UK.
The Code contains new provisions relating to consumer switching and porting and includes a specific requirement for Industry to establish a single, gaining provider-led process for switching domestic customers within and across different fixed networks (i.e. cross-platform switching).
Ofcom plan to complete their assessment of proposals previously submitted by industry, before publishing, in the New Year, a final consultation which will indicate their decision regarding the 2 industry proposals.
Ofcom have also declared that industry will be required to implement the new switching & porting process within the 24-month period ending December 2022.
In support of the All-IP migration challenge facing industry, OTA2 have provided detailed guidance for CPs faced with migrating customers from a copper-based split CP scenario (i.e. CP1 providing Voice, CP2 providing Broadband) to a new fibre-based voice & broadband service with just 1 CP.
Right to Port (R2P)
A separate ECWG workstream is underway to address an additional EECC requirement to deliver the changes needed to afford an End User the new ‘right to port’ their number to a new provider for a period of up to 31 calendar days following service termination with their previous provider.
OTA2 have developed a detailed requirements specification which has been distributed to each of the major CPs who will be developing their existing automation to fulfil the ‘right to port’ requirement.
OTA2 and industry are developing plans to implement the R2P enhancement by December 2022 as it will eliminate a significant industry cost of failure whilst providing a much better End Customer experience.
Porting for Business – New Reforms
A number of improvements were launched on 7 September 2020, which were designed to improve the order handling process for business customers where complex reseller supply chains are typically involved.
Following a period of ‘parallel running’ to allow more time for the large reseller community to assimilate the new process changes, the new process is now in place and initial feedback from wholesalers has been very positive.
A separate project is underway to update the existing number porting process documentation and to make it more user friendly and accessible via the OTA2 website.
Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 9.7, 7.3, 12.5, 10, 5 working days for Copper, FTTC (MI), SOGEA (MI), FTTC (SI) and SOGEA (SI) installations respectively, over the 4-day period ending 19 December 2020 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).
(Note: MI and SI are Managed-Install and Self-Install orders respectively)
(Note: FTTC is Fibre to the cabinet, SOGEA is Single Order Generic Ethernet Access)
LLU and WLR ‘on time repair’ performance has been tracking an improving trend, achieving a 4-week rolling average of 88 % and 84 % respectively, by week ending 18 December 2020.
*The figures quoted exclude BT downstream connections