Telecommunications Adjudicator update for November 2021
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in November 2021.
At the end of November 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 8.78 million. There are 4.01 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.04 million. *
We have now put plans into place to reintroduce some element of face to face meetings where justified. Recognising the benefits of both face to face and online meetings we are proposing to blend the two approaches.
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 – API adoption remains an area of focus. OTA2 are interested in understanding what CPs require from any automation and how CPs view adoption.
Scale Build – U/G POC Early findings have revealed the natural barrier to progress posed by the Street Works Noticing requirements and how this will work best in terms of the process for keeping Openreach notified of activity in the network.
O/H CPs have been asked to provide Openreach with an indication that they are behind the proposals for a POC for a ‘tour of duty’ approach to D Pole replacement in advance of build. 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:
- Duct Overlay – this POC has now closed, CPs have until December to provide the evidence from the trial or cancel the orders.
- Connecting Customers
EAD – The picture remains very consistent with the report from last month.
Demand remains very high. Performance is overall good with c1300 orders per week completing. However, planning times remain under sharp focus as we are still seeing challenges in getting performance back to normal.
Optical Services are following EAD with good levels of service being reported.
Cable Link no issues reported since the changes have been made to the product.
Copper and Fibre
An issue has arisen within the reconciliation of historic auto compensation payments up to April 2021 and are associated with cancelled provisions, where the two sides have a differing interpretation of what was agreed. Openreach tabled an updated proposal early October, however, industry requested some additional data from Openreach prior to any response and work to collate this remains ongoing, although a response is anticipated shortly. The position post April 2021 is unaffected.
The system capability for payment of a Dead-on Arrival SLG for FTTP went live on 1 November 2021 and Openreach has published a payments schedule for both forward looking and retrospective payments. Initially the quantum is set at £12 (in line with that for other products). Discussions are ongoing on how best to include in contract. Industry still await Openreach proposal for way forward.
Following a number of concerns from Business focused CPs at various fora, regarding the suitability of SOGEA and FTTP within business environments, a bespoke session was held to take CPs through current capability, future enhancements, service improvements and to address specific concerns raised by industry regarding the SOGEA/FTTP products. At the end of the session several CPs voiced their concern regarding how they support their customers in advance of future business focused improvements becoming available.
Openreach informed CPs that they have published their consultation regarding the piloting of exchange closures. The Openreach plans are centred on 5 exchanges, starting April 2022. The deadline for responses is 21 January 2022.
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 as roles and responsibilities within the process, timelines, roadblocks etc.
Openreach remains 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 has offered CPs the chance to develop and test their vulnerable customer processes as part of a formal trial but there continues to be limited engagement from industry. The Openreach test lab is now operational and manufacturers of special services equipment (such as health pendants) can now book test slots
There were some aspects of both the product and contracts discussion, which could not be completed prior to the publication of the Reference Offer for soft launch. The issues needing to be addressed were captured and a timetable for review agreed between Openreach and Industry. Discussions are ongoing in line with the agreed plans and have made reasonable progress to date. Whilst discussions on the major proportion of the items have concluded, agreement was not reached on all aspects.
The current DFX trial to allow use of pre-2000 fibre on routes has been extended but with the inclusion of DFA and will run to the end of March. A number of additional orders have now been added to the trial and industry now awaits the formal proposal regarding Openreach plans, which are anticipated in December.
Consumer Switching & Number Porting
The ‘One Touch Switch’ Process (formerly EECC Fixed Line Switching and Porting)
On 28 September 2021 – Ofcom published their statement on quick, easy and reliable switching, which briefly contains the following:
- OTS (One Touch Switch) is the process selected by Ofcom for all residential fixed Voice and Broadband switching (baselined against the ‘Option Y HUB’ design proposal, but with some notable changes)
- Date of 3 April 2023 for Industry compliance to revised switching General Conditions (original date was December 2022)
- Included in Annexes to statement are the revised GC (General Conditions) for consultation, which include the withdrawal of NoT+ processes for in scope services The statement also requested that OTA2 re-engage with industry to further the OTS design, built, test and delivery process and also to bring Industry together to consider ‘Governance’ and its role in both the OTS solution establishment, it’s ongoing maintenance and management, and the potential for convergence of Porting and Switching governance.
OTA2 continue to engage with industry through ‘OTS Design’ and ‘Switching Governance’ forums and meetings, with a number already held and well attended.
Scheduled OTS Design meetings for 2021 are as follows:
|Thursday 9 December||13:00 – 15:00||TBC|
|Wednesday 15 December||10:00 – 12:30||TBC|
|Tuesday 21 December||10:00 – 12:30||TBC|
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.
The delivery by a major CP of this functionality in July 2021 continues to deliver benefits to end customers and their service providers, supporting the belief that ‘early’ delivery into live can be achieved without negative impacts on existing solutions.
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 April 2023
- To transform number management and porting in readiness to meet the demands of an All-IP environment following the planned withdrawal of legacy TDM networks and analogue services (i.e. by 2025).
Initial responses from the NPESG have been positive and further investigations are underway.
Continuing feedback from across industry has identified the need for ongoing 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: -
- The delivery of enhancements to existing Analogue (TDM) to IP based voice services already made by some parties are delivering ‘in-life’ benefits and process improvements, these will continue to be monitored alongside future planned improvements
- 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 establish a new Bulk Transfer process to facilitate wholesaler ports. (i.e. porting at the Wholesaler level).
Singleton Transfer has also been identified for consideration in the same investigation (i.e. same end customer and retailer, but a change in wholesaler/voice service provider to offer customer a new service package)
- A focus group session has been arranged to investigate operational issues experienced with PoV and to agree on possible improvements to this process.
Common Numbering Database
- The OTA2 chaired Number Port Executive Steering Group (NPESG) and the NICC (UK Interoperability Standards) are collaborating with regards to establishing a CNDB (Common Numbering Database) to transform number porting in the UK. Progress on this has not advanced as quickly as anticipated due to a number of factors (i.e. Ofcom statement publication and resultant priority meeting arrangements)
- A high-level draft requirements document has been shared for review, with a follow-up session to be arranged and an agreed target date of 12 December 2021 to share with the NICC
Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, over the 5-day period ending 22 November 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 a steady trend for LLU but a slight decline for WLR, achieving a 4-week rolling average of 87.9% and 83.2% % respectively, by week ending 12 November 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