Telecommunications Adjudicator update for May 2021
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in May 2021.
At the end of May 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.07 million. There are 4.13 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
Interest in the PIA product continues with more CPs becoming registered to consume, to date we have slightly less than 130 CPs.
Systems improvements in the shape of B2B API interfaces enabling CPs to be able to create Notices of Intent (NoI) have now been released and a number of CPs are working through their developments to consume.
Work to enable a ‘Scale Build’ solution which aims to enable CPs to build networks in their own timeframe is ongoing and beginning to take shape. An outline plan of the key milestones has been shared with the PIAPCG. The aspiration is to get a suitable POC trial up and running for underground works by mid-summer. The challenges around ‘D’ pole replacement and the creation of a longer-term forecast to try to drive efficiency will take slightly longer but are very much in focus for improving the challenges around pole replacement lead-times.
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, a slight rise in suspended orders, but no major issues reported.
Copper and Fibre
An 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 expressed their concern regarding the lack of detail on scale, scope or validation of how the tariff would be applied. Dialogue continues between all parties.
CPs have stated that following the unsuccessful negotiations with Openreach regarding automatic compensation payments for 48-Hour Repeats, they have informed Openreach that they do not wish to pursue the technical solution requested via SoR. CPs had communicated this decision to Ofcom, who had written expressing their disappointment.
The annual review of SoR performance was held with the CFPCG in May. This demonstrated good performance across the year with no areas of concern raised by industry. Openreach also proposed that the current SoR outcomes of Withdrawn and Rejected be withdrawn and replaced by the following new outcome definitions as the existing definitions had proved deficient and led to stalemate regarding how SoRs should be recorded in a number of situations. Industry agreed to the new proposals.
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
Openreach informed CPs in mid-May of a change to the stop-sell tranches, whereby of the initial batch of 117 stop-sell exchanges, 104 have been postponed until 05 October 2021. While the initial Salisbury trial has progressed well and proved the Openreach systems and processes, the additional safe working practices implemented nationally to protect Openreach engineers and end customers during the Covid-19 national lockdown restrictions has affected learning. In view of this and given the importance, to CPs and Openreach, of learning as much as possible from the Salisbury trial, Openreach took the decision to delay the implementation of a significant number of the stop sell exchanges notified so far. However, to ensure continued learning Openreach intend to widen the trial from Salisbury alone and will implement stop sell in 13 of the original 117 exchanges notified in Tranche 1. These 13 exchanges will now be referred to as ‘Tranche 1a’.
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.
The initial industry working group for Dark Fibre (inter exchange and access) was held on 27 May 2021 and was well attended by industry.
For DFA this addressed the Terms of Reference for the IWG and covered range of subjects, at a high level such as the proposed usage rules, exchange categorisation, systems delivery and the Reference Offer and associated documentation. Work to address and agree the detail within these is underway to facilitate the publication of the Reference Offer in August. Some areas of discussion will be ‘parked’ and will be progressed post August.
On DFX, Openreach have extended the current trial of the use of pre-2000 fibre on routes less than 40km until August. Industry continue to request that circuits up to the full 86km route distance be considered for trial. The WFTMR also require a number of changes to DFX. On two of these (Lack of Space/Power and Resilience) Openreach have tabled proposals. On the remaining two (Aggregation and Exchange Classification) industry awaits the output of Openreach policy decisions.
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
- 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.
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).
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 26 May 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 90 % and 89 % respectively, by week ending 21 May 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