Telecommunications Adjudicator update for March 2021
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in March 2021.
At the end of March 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.16 million. There are 4.17 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. Volume has risen slightly but is still not quite back to pre-pandemic levels. As ever focus remains on workstack control and order fluidity by controlling delays and suspensions.
Optical Services are following the same trend as we have seen in recent months, settling to more normal levels. Openreach have made some internal changes to the process for date management. We are working with the CPs to validate the impact of the changes as Optical orders progress.
An agreement for Bes Wes Wees platform has been made allowing these circuits to be supported for a further 9 months (31 December 2021). The agreement however is contingent on CPs rapidly developing plans to shut down the remaining circuits. OTA2 will be hosting monthly calls to focus on the challenges and plans for the closure of these circuits.
Passive Infrastructure Access
The PIA Product continues to evolve as the demand for the product and the number of active CPs grow. There are now more than 110 registered CPs.
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 systems interaction with its fortnightly collaboration sessions is also working well
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
The review of scale build capabilities is beginning to take shape. The original review looked at three areas: Underground (U/G), Overhead (O/H) and customer connection. Upon reflection the last category customer connection is of wider concern for all PIA CPs. The scale focus continues with the U/G and O/H elements. The U/G work is centring on how we can enable a less transactional approach to Network Adjustments and the O/H is looking at how a more programmatic approach to pole remediation in advance of a rollout could work and what information is needed and how far in advance.
Copper and Fibre
Openreach and industry have expressed a willingness to engage on proactive testing, with OTA2 acting as an intermediary. Negotiations had made good progress but in recent weeks have reached an impasse which parties are working to resolve.
Negotiations between industry and Openreach on the Auto Comp rates beyond 31 March 2021 have not yet reached agreement on new rates that Openreach will apply from 1 April 2021. Openreach have notified revised rates based on the application of CPI to the rates offered during 19/20 and 20/21.
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 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 had been implemented from the start of February, but industry consider this was contrary to what had been inferred previously. Openreach agreed to provide data from February and March to demonstrate the level of impact and this will be presented to industry in April. At this time Openreach, continues to pay SLGs.
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, road blocks etc.
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. Industry has requested that the trial be extended further and that circuits up to the full 86km route distance be considered.
Openreach have proposed an update to SIN 525, which defines the technical specification for the service. Following discussions with industry it is hoped that, subject to governance, agreement has been reached on the changes.
The WFTMR will require a number of changes to the DFX Reference Offer. The areas to be addressed have been agreed with industry and Openreach plan to present its proposals at the April industry working group (IWG). It is planned to commence discussions on Dark Fibre Access (DFA) on 15 April with a separate meeting, after which the IWG will cover both DFX and DFA.
No concerns have been raised regarding 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 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).
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: -
- 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’
- To simplify the existing port order transaction template to facilitate increased automation
- To establish a new ‘Bulk Transfer’ process to facilitate wholesaler ports.
- To review the existing order handling & activation processes employed by the small group of mass volume CPs who service the residential market, to identify opportunities for improved throughput and reduced cost of failure.
Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, over the 5-day period ending 22 March 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 84 % respectively, by week ending 19 March 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