Telecommunications Adjudicator update for November 2020

An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in November 2020.

See the latest charts

At the end of November 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.37 million. There are 4.25 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.08 million. *

Covid-19 Impact

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 recent announcements from Government, it is unlikely that we will return to normal meetings for another 6 months. There may be some exceptions with small groups on a need basis.

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 despite the 2nd national lockdown. Focus remains ensuring that the workstack is managed as tightly as possible. Delays and suspensions are reviewed with CPs to keep the work as fluid as possible.

Optical Services following the same trend as we have seen in recent months and settling to more normal levels.

The Cable Link product has been a cause for concern with some delivery performance challenges. There are service improvement plans in place to improve the delivery and a more fundamental product level review of how the product is built, tested and delivered also being carried out.

Passive Infrastructure Access

The PIA Product continues to evolve with, as we see the demand for the product and the number of active CPs grow. There are now 95 registered CPs.

OTA2 have been reviewing with Ofcom how the PIA product can be shaped to better assist the CPs looking at scale build. Ofcom have determined 5 principles which will form a framework of how we can review future product deliveries. Taking the 5 principles and applying them to the work undertaken with the PIA ESG will allow us to focus attention to the development of the product in areas which will make the most difference.

The product itself remains a very active area of both interest from CPs and in terms of systems and product development.

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
  • Movement of Dropwires
  • Forecasting
  • SLAs/SLGs
  • Cable Coils

Copper and Fibre

Openreach and industry have expressed a willingness to engage on proactive testing, with OTA2 acting as an intermediary, with a view to seeking some form of compromise; should this be possible. Negotiations have made good progress and an MOU is currently under development.

Industry has also proposed SoR 8619 which relates to automatic compensation payments associated with a repeat fault within 48 hours. This is intended to support potential changes to the current automatic compensation scheme provided to consumers. Negotiations on the Auto Comp rates beyond 2020/21 have also commenced but have made limited progress

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 has been referred to Ofcom.

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. Next steps will be to start a more focussed working group on business environments probably in the new year.

Dark Fibre

Openreach had informed industry that it has identified issues with the quality of testing of some DFX orders. A service improvement plan has been in place for several months w and good progress is being reported back to industry. Improvements in quality are acknowledged by industry.

Openreach has commenced a trial of the use of pre-2000 fibre on routes less than 40km.

Industry have expressed concern regarding the number of issues referred to the Chief Engineers Office which have failed to progress. Industry that it imperative that the issues are resolved prior to any launch of DFA.

Consumer Switching & Number Porting

EECC Fixed Line Switching and Porting Working Group (ECWG)

The European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) will update and replace the existing EU regulatory framework for electronic communications within the UK.

The Code contains new provisions relating to consumer switching and porting and includes a specific requirement for Industry to establish a single, gaining provider-led process for switching domestic customers within and across different fixed networks (i.e. cross-platform switching).

Ofcom plan to complete their assessment of proposals previously submitted by industry, before publishing, in December 2020, a final consultation which will indicate their decision regarding the 2 specific proposals under review.

Ofcom have also declared that once they have published their final consultation, industry will be required to implement the new switching & porting process within the following 24-month period.

Split CPs

In support of the All-IP migration challenge facing industry, OTA2 have provided detailed guidance for CPs when faced with migrating customers from a copper-based split CP scenario (i.e. CP1 providing Voice, CP2 providing Broadband) to a new fibre-based voice & broadband service with just 1 CP.

Right to Port (R2P)

A separate ECWG workstream is underway to address an additional EECC requirement to deliver the changes needed to afford an End User the new ‘right to port’ their number to a new provider for a period of up to 31 calendar days following service termination with their previous provider.

OTA2 have developed a detailed requirements specification which has been distributed to each of the major CPs who will be developing their existing automation to fulfil the ‘right to port’ requirement.

OTA2 and industry are developing plans to implement the R2P enhancement as soon as possible as it will eliminate a significant industry cost of failure whilst providing a much better End Customer experience.

Blockchain Proof of Concept for Number Porting & Number Management

This Ofcom-sponsored ‘Proof of Concept’ project has now been completed and Ofcom’s conclusion is that theywould not recommend the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (i.e. Blockchain) at this time.

Porting for Business – New Reforms

A number of improvements were launched on 7 September 2020, which were aimed at improving the order handling process for business customers where complex reseller supply chains are involved.

A period of ‘parallel running’ has been extended to allow more time for the large reseller community to assimilate the new process changes.

A separate project is underway to update the existing number porting process documentation and to make it more user friendly and accessible.

Service Levels

Copper & Fibre Provision

Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 7.4, 5.7, and 6.7, working days for Copper, Fibre (MI) and Fibre (SI) installations respectively, over the 5-day period ending 22 November 2020 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

(Note: MI and SI are Managed-Install and Self-Install orders respectively)

Copper Repair

LLU and WLR ‘on time repair’ performance has been tracking an improving trend, achieving a 4-week rolling average of 85 % and 82 % respectively, by week ending 13 November 2020.

*The figures quoted exclude BT downstream connections