Telecommunications Adjudicator update for February 2021
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in February 2021.
At the end of February 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.195 million. There are 4.19 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.09 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. With the latest announcements, we are all looking forward to the restrictions easing, though face to face meetings are still 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 on workstack control and order fluidity by controlling delays and suspensions.
Optical Services following the same trend as we have seen in recent months and settling to more normal levels. There have been some date management challenges and communication issues raised around the optical products, which we are working through with Openreach to document and address.
The Bes Wes Wees platform is due to be shut down 31 March 2020. The services have been obsolete for more than 10 years with their service level agreements and guarantees removed to a best-efforts repair. There are still a reasonable number of circuits that are still live, so we are working with CPs and Openreach to formulate a shutdown plan, trying to balance customers’ needs whilst driving the closure.
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 110 registered CPs.
The product is functioning well. The PIAPCG remains focused on a number of 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 review of scale operations and enabling CPs to move into a less transactional way of working for a defined geography is continuing. Feedback from the CP community is being reviewed by Openreach to incorporate into a draft proposal. The output of any proposals will be shared with the wider PIA community via the PIAPCG.
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. Negotiations have made good progress although there have been a few challenges from industry on the draft of the MOU which Openreach are considering.
Negotiations on the Auto Comp rates beyond 2020/21 have commenced but continue to make limited progress, despite the proximity of the implementation date for any new rates.
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 remains with Ofcom following referral.
Openreach has successfully expanded its Emergency Welfare (EW) process to include FTTC, SOGEA, LLU SMPF, and FTTP, alongside the existing WLR and LLU MPF. In addition to this wider scope, there has been a move to submitting welfare cases and escalations directly via the Openreach portal.
There are two areas of contention regarding Openreach commercial policy at present. Discussions are ongoing but these are:
- SFI/SFVA charging during COVID-19 restrictions, where industry consider that the scope of the service is reduced and as such should in the price
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 has been implemented from the start of February, but industry consider this was contrary to what had been inferred previously. Openreach have proposed to suppress these charges for a couple of months so all can review if this is significant or not. The working assumption is that it is not.
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. The forum is currently focused on developing appropriate reporting measures and has commenced a more detailed review of the issues affecting businesses moving to All-IP
Openreach has commenced a trial of the use of pre-2000 fibre on routes less than 40km. This was due to close at the end of January, but this has been extended to the end of March. This might be further extended due to additional CP interest to participate.
Openreach have proposed an update to SIN 525, which defines the technical specification for the service. Industry has responded with its comments on the proposal, and discussions are ongoing.
No concerns have been raised regarding against 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
The published document is positioned as a consultation whereby Industry stakeholders have an opportunity to respond with comments on Ofcom’s decision by 31 March 2021.
Subject to CP feedback received by 31 March 2021, Ofcom aim to publish their policy decision statement during Q2 2021.
The published timeline is as follows: -
31/03/2021 – CP Responses to consultation received 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).
Porting Alignment with the ‘One Touch Switch’ process
OTA2 continue to work with the Number Port Executive Steering Group (NPESG) to determine the most effective way of aligning the number port process with the new ‘one touch switch’ process.
Porting for Business – New Reforms
A number of 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: -
- The porting process documentation, which is accessible via the OTA2 website, has been fully restructured to make it more user friendly.
- To simplify the existing port order transaction template to facilitate increased automation
- To establish a new ‘Bulk Transfer’ process to facilitate wholesaler ports.
Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 7.5,28.5, 17, 6.5, 6.5 working days for Copper, FTTC (MI), SOGEA (MI), FTTC (SI) and SOGEA (SI) installations respectively, over the 4-day period ending 24 February 2021 (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 a relatively flat trend, achieving a 4-week rolling average of 84 % and 82 % respectively, by week ending 19 February 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