Telecommunications Adjudicator update for October 2021
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in October 2021.
At the end of October 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 8.85 million. There are 4.02 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. For the commercial groups we have proposed to meet face to face followed by online meetings the next 2 months. Depending upon the success of this method we can review our long-term strategy.
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 – B2B systems activity has continued to slowly ramp up, we are actively monitoring the volume and seeking insight from CPs as to any challenges relating to adoption and use of the automation.
Scale Build – U/G POC with 7 CPs signed up, now up and running. As previously reported all findings and learnings will be reported at the PIAPCG, with the first fledgling insight delivered at the October PCG. Scale O/H Work is ongoing with refining the best approach to enabling O/H. Openreach are focusing on the tour of duty approach as the other alternatives create a more complex picture to manage and consumption for both parties.
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, we are awaiting the closure of the trial builds to enable any sort of meaningful evaluation of the approach to determine if we take this forward.
- Connecting Customers
EAD – The picture remains very consistent with the report from last month. Demand remains very healthy. Performance is overall good. Planning times remain under sharp focus a we are still seeing some challenges in getting performance back to normal. A number of CPs have reported delays in the actioning of responses to CPs remedying delays, we are working very closely with Openreach service to review and respond to the challenges. The ‘Quick win’ process is under the spotlight to determine if there are any areas which need to be adjusted either form an action or reporting point of view. Any potential changes will be taken through the IWG and the PCG for CP discussion.
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. The position post April 2021 is unaffected.
The system capability for payment of a Dead on Arrival SLG for FTTP will go 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 await Openreach proposal for way forward.
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, 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.
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.
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. This has been welcomed by industry.
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)
- The statement included impacts on Mobile switching (not in scope of the OTA2 remit)
- 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
- Revisions to GC’s include withdrawal of NoT+ process for in scope services
- Any responses to this statement and the proposed revisions to GC’s should be submitted to Ofcom by 9 November 2021
- 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 & management, and the potential for convergence of Porting and Switching governance
OTA2 have already arranged and run two ‘Kick-off – All Hands’ session with Industry (Switching 12 October and Governance 14 October) and a follow-up Switching Design workshop (26 October) with further sessions planned.
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.
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.
Continuing feedback from across industry has identified the need for further 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: -
- In support of the anticipated volume migration from Analogue to IP-based voice services, plans are in place to enhance the associated porting processes, with deliveries of those enhancements already made by some parties and now undergoing ‘in-life’ assessment of their effectiveness.
- 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 process automation
- To establish a new ‘Bulk Transfer’ process to facilitate wholesaler ports. (i.e. porting at the Wholesaler level)
To refresh the existing PoV (Pre-order Validation) process in light of recent industry feedback.
Common Numbering Database
- The OTA2 chaired Number Port Executive Steering Group (NPESG) and 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)
Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, over the 5-day period ending 27 October 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 steady trend, achieving a 4-week rolling average of 89% and 87 % respectively, by week ending 22 October 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