Telecommunications Adjudicator update for September 2021
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in September 2021.
At the end of September 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 8.92 million. There are 4.05 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.05 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 once a quarter 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.
Scale Build – U/G now moving to a POC with 7 CPs signed up. Start date for the POC 1 October 2021 all findings and learnings will be reported at the PIAPCG. Scale O/H Work is ongoing with refining the best approach to enabling O/H. This is quite challenging with CPs having different models of engagement and differing time horizons when it comes to build plans and forecasts. 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 – 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 – 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. 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
Openreach announced their “Connect the Unconnected special offer” on 6 September 2021, which offers connection discounts for customers unable to afford adequate broadband connectivity.
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 anticipate tabling an updated proposal early October. The position post April 2021 is unaffected.
Ofcom’s WFTMR Statement in March 2021 there had been a disapplication of the general network access obligation in relation to copper retirement. This means that copper SoRs will now be considered on a case-by-case basis with respect to assisting the move from copper to fibre, but that any efficiency benefits would also be considered at the draft SoR stage. The SoR guidance for industry will be updated to reflect the disapplication.
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 has had 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. The issues to be addressed have been captured and a timetable for review agreed between Openreach and Industry. This dialogue has not commenced, with a key concern for industry being the disparity in capability between where a CP is sited with an exchange versus where external termination is required, due to lack of Openreach space, power or cooling.
The current DFX trial to allow use of pre-2000 fibre on routes up to the full 86km has completed, although order levels were lower than had been hoped. Openreach has proposed reopening the trial but with the inclusion of DFA. This was welcomed by industry.
Consumer Switching & Number Porting
The ‘One Touch Switch’ Process (formerly EECC Fixed Line Switching and Porting)
The anticipated timeline is as follows: -
06 May 2021
- Ofcom ask OTA2 to ‘pause’ any Multilateral engagement for time being
- Ofcom have published policy decision statement
- Ofcom have published statement on (General Condition) GC changes necessary to implement policy
- Ofcom have published consultation on GC changes and removal of the Openreach Notification of Transfer Switching process
19 December 2022 (I.e. New Switching process fully implemented across all Network Infrastructures)
- 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. A significant delivery of this functionality took place in July 2021, early results indicate a positive impact on Number Porting requests, with orders successfully progressing to completion that would previously have been rejected.
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 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.
- 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.
Copper & Fibre Provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, over the 5-day period ending 24 September 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 89% and 87 % respectively, by week ending 20 August 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