Telecommunications Adjudicator update for September 2020

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

See the latest charts

At the end of September 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.49 million. There are 4.28 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.07 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 maybe 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.

Ethernet

OTA2 understand that EAD orders are settling at c1400 circuits a week with completions creeping up to around 1200 per week. Openreach regaining control of the workstack remains a priority focus as working with CPs to reduce the amount of suspends. The Openreach planning milestones of day6/8 and day14 are not yet back under control but are showing signs of improvement.

Optical orders appear to be settling back down to more normal levels. Both the Openreach workstack and levels of suspension, as with EAD, are high still attributable to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Completions are standing up well, running at around 140 per week with a mix of Wavelength and bearers being delivered.

Passive Infrastructure Access

The PIA meeting has transitioned from being an IWG under the auspices of the CFPCG to a fully functional Product and Commercial Group. OTA2 have also hosted the first session of a higher level Executive Steering group which aims to provide insight into the main areas of CP concern over the use of the PIA product.

The product itself remains a very active area of both interest from CPs (Now 83 registered CPs) and in terms of systems and product development. Operational performance on the PIA product has remained good throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

Systems development - Openreach have opened their CVF facility for CP developers to use in testing of the APIGEEPIGEE API interfaces and functionality for automation. Six CPs have established, and dialogue is ongoing with a further four CPs. One CP has a test interface live.

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 will start on 6 October 2020.

CPs and Openreach are in formal negotiations regarding the 28-Day repeat SLG following a request from industry that two network clears at different locations be included. Openreach have stated they are not willing to extend the SLG as they believe that Openreach had undertaken all that was possible or reasonable in responding to the first fault. A formal response to industry has also been provided which industry is considering but has yet to respond formally.

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 20/21 have also commenced.

All IP Steering Group

Following the overwhelming attendance at major industry sessions, an All IP steering group has been established to facilitate discussion and debate amongst an invited group to ensure the move towards an All IP environment can be achieved. The initiate focus of the group has been Best Practice, Stop sell and the impending Salisbury trial.

Dark Fibre

Openreach had informed industry that it has identified issues with the quality of testing of some DFX orders. A plan is in place which seeks to rectify these issues and progress is being reported back to industry. Improvements in quality are acknowledged by industry.

Openreach has formally rejected SoR 8572 – DFX Alternative option for BT only exchanges without space and power due to unclear demand set against the cost to deliver.

Industry had expressed its concern to Openreach regarding the current policy of not offering fibre that is pre-2000, as in some circumstances G.652.A fibre was used prior to this date and allowing its use could solve a number of order rejections. Openreach has responded that it intends to shortly trial the use of pre-2000 fibre on routes less than 40km and detailed discussions are planned with industry early October.

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).

Following input from industry through the OTA2, Ofcom plan to complete their initial assessment before launching a follow-on consultation with the wider industry community to indicate their ‘provisional’ decision and gauge opinion on all the options under consideration.

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.

Despite Ofcom’s recent announcement to relax the original timeline for industry to meet the new EECC requirements (i.e. in light of the pandemic impact), OTA2 and industry are keen 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 a full closure report, including conclusions is expected to become available during October 2020.

Porting for Business – New Reforms

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

Service Levels

Copper & Fibre Provision

Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 6.7, 5.5, and 6.5, working days for Copper, Fibre (MI) and Fibre (SI) installations respectively, over the 5-day period ending 27 September 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 maintained a relatively flat trend, achieving a 4-week rolling average of 81 % and 78 % respectively, by week ending 18 September 2020.


*The figures quoted exclude BT downstream connections