Telecommunications Adjudicator update for July 2021
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in July 2021.
At the end of July 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.02 million. There are 4.10 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.06 million. *
We will continue to host all industry fora online until such time that participants return to travelling normally across the UK. As the restrictions ease we will review 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.
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. Additional API capability released in the latest EMP release (18th/19th July) for NA creation of orders.
Scale Build – Proposals presented to the ESG for scale U/G, awaiting CP feedback before moving to a POC stage.
On Scale O/H CPs have been asked to consider and provide feedback, if they would be prepared to provide 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, workstack is settling at around 18K. There has been an impact in the planning lead times driven by an increase in demand. This has been addressed by Openreach by invoking their ‘flood defences’ and there are recovery plans in place with targets for a return to normal.
Optical Services are following EAD with good levels of service being reported.
Cable Link remains under watch to see if the operational changes have worked.
Copper and Fibre
A SoR has been tabled by industry for a Broadband Inclusive Wholesale tariff to support the expectation of Government and Ofcom for a proposal to be presented by industry on how to support end customers who are unable to afford adequate broadband connectivity. Openreach have proposed that this SoR be closed on the basis that offering further rental discounts is not feasible on the regulated products included within the SoR. They have, however, proposed a connection discount as an alternative for CPs to consider. A meeting to review is scheduled with industry towards the end of July.
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 is effective in August. Some aspects of discussion have been ‘parked’ and will be progressed post August.
On DFX, Openreach extended the current trial to allow use of pre-2000 fibre on routes up to the full 86km. This is due to complete mid-August.
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, with ‘in life’ testing and monitoring of performance underway.
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 & 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).
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 24 July 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 87 % and 86 % respectively, by week ending 16 July 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