Telecommunications Adjudicator update for June 2021
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in June 2021.
At the end of June 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.05 million. There are 4.12 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.
Passive Infrastructure Access
Systems Improvements – B2B systems activity has continued to slowly ramp up and we expect this to develop as more capability comes online with future releases and CPs consume the changes.
Scale Build – progress on developing a plan and way forward for underground activities. Next steps: OTA2 to organise an ESG review of the proposals with the aim of getting a POC trial stood up to test any new way of working.
On overhead, we need to finesse the work around how a programmatic approach will work and how we manage the challenges of data accuracy, changes to plans and designs given that any forecast will be further out from a CPs build plans.
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. Demand remains healthy, workstack is settling at around 18K which is considered healthy.
Optical Services are following EAD with good levels of service being reported.
Cable Link has been subject to a service improvement plan. Openreach have made changes to the way the orders are handled, and the installations are completed, using dedicated staff. As with all the orders in this portfolio we will need to see how the changes work out as new orders flow through the fairly long delivery cycle.
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. This has now been formally submitted and discussions have been scheduled in July to review the initial Openreach response.
The Product Policy and the Commercial Construct Review for FTTP, which will affect the Product Description, Contract and associated schedules remains ongoing.
Openreach presented its current thinking on the use of UPRNs to the CFPCG. The scale of change goes beyond what is appropriate to a SoR and a plan of engagement for the work has been requested by industry to better understand the timescales, scope and the potential impact on themselves.
All-IP Steering Group
The 13 exchanges referred to as ‘Tranche 1a’ are now in active stop sell alongside the two trial exchanges.
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 are aware that in the WFTMR, Ofcom’s policy aim to is to ensure that end customer’s access to anchor 40Mb products is protected under stop sell where that end customer already has active FTTC service. To support this, Openreach have announced that they will support the end customer connecting to 40/10 FTTC / SOGEA for a while longer. The stop sell policy will be amended to allow end customers that already have an active FTTC or SOGEA service to change CP as long as their service is provided on either a 40/10 or FTTC/SOGEA service. The change will take effect from 18 September 2021 and will apply retrospectively to exchanges already under stop sell and on a go-forward basis to exchanges where stop sell is implemented.
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) is working to address and agree the detail required for the publication of the Reference Offer in August. Some aspects of discussion will be ‘parked’ and will be progressed post August.
On DFX, Openreach have now extended the current trial to allow use of pre-2000 fibre on routes up to the full 86km.
The WFTMR also requires a number of changes to DFX. Proposals for Lack of Space/Power and Resilience were tabled in May. On change to exchange classification, Openreach have informed industry that impacted circuits will be given a one-year notice of termination in August 2021 but that they will then work with affected CPs to identify alternate solutions. The remaining change around Aggregation is ongoing.
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
As of 01 July 2021 industry is still awaiting these publications
- 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. Testing of system changes is underway, with the expectation of limited early delivery of functionality ahead of December 2022 deadline.
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.
Further improvements are underway as follows: -
- In support of the anticipated volume migration from Analogue to IP-based voice services, plans are underway 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 automation
- To establish a new ‘Bulk Transfer’ process to facilitate wholesaler ports. (i.e. porting at the Wholesaler level)
Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, over the 4-day period ending 28 June2021 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 89 % and 88 % respectively, by week ending 25 June 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