Telecommunications Adjudicator update for May 2019

An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in May 2019.

At the end of May, the number of unbundled lines stands at 10.06 million. There are 4.26 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.71 million.*

Ethernet

The focus remains on service delivery and especially on the performance through the planning stages. Openreach have increased the number of planners and have set up support services for the planning function which frees up planning resource to focus on the most skilled elements of the process. The work stack is beginning to shrink, and it is anticipated based on previous experience that once the workstack is optimised that the service times will recover. OTA2 will continue to monitor and work with Openreach to get to a better position.

The Reimagining Ethernet Programme (REP) is continuing to take shape with Openreach setting out their organisation plans and high-level scope.

The CP counter proposal to develop the existing journey into a more capable, less stop start experience is also gathering momentum with a number of CPs working together to set out their alternative view. OTA2 await the CP position to be formalised in a letter from which a better understanding can be gained of how the two can be drawn together.

The EMP position remains unchanged from the last update, all new orders are being taken on EMP and the Work in Progress (WiP) left on Eco-X is being run down with the aim of having as few as possible left at the end of the calendar year where decisions will be made to manually lift the remainder onto EMP.

Passive Infrastructure Access

OTA2 have launched a new set of Terms of Reference covering the review of the ‘Bedding in Period’ to ensure that the focus is maintained over the first 12 months of active use of the product.

There are a number of areas which the Passives IWG has identified as needing review and more work. OTA2 are actively working with Openreach and the CPs to define and close these areas of issue and have set the on-going (listed below) Passives IWG agenda to keep them in sharp focus. The Passives IWG will continue to run monthly. The main areas of further focus are:

  • Network Adjustments, working with Openreach to develop a clear process for how NA will operate, what criteria is being used to validate the veracity of any claim and how the creation of trusted status will operate for both CPs and Openreach.
  • Developing the capability to define project areas, grouping multiple NoIs (Notice of Intent) together. Working through the details of the Openreach proposals to ensure it fits the majority of scenarios.
  • The management of areas within an NoI which are ready to connect customers. Working through the details of the Openreach design to ensure that there is no delay to CPs wanting to build and connect customers.
  • Developing a meaningful forecasting mechanism.
  • Developing a comprehensive set of SLA covering the ancillary services Openreach need to support.

Separately Ofcom is engaging Openreach to develop a set of meaningful KPI’s to ensure no undue discrimination.

SLA/SLG

At the January CFPCG, Openreach informed industry that they wished to review the Missed Appointment charge for WLA products via the OTA2 facilitated process. This will be undertaken under the 6-month OTA2 facilitated process. Openreach presented its rationale and the principles underpinning their proposal. Negotiations are on-going; however, the two sides remain some distance apart.

Automatic Compensation

The technical delivery by Openreach, supporting the April launch of the Automatic Compensation was in place for the April launch by those CPs supporting the scheme. Some issues were identified but these did not affected payments to end customers. As no major issues were identified the Industry Working Group has now ceased although bi-lateral calls between Openreach and CPs remain to ensure that any issues are identified promptly for resolution.

Consumer Switching

All IP – Migrations Testing Programme (AIP-MTP)

At the request of Ofcom, OTA2 have established a new industry programme aimed at pre-validating the migration processes which Gaining CPs will be using to support the anticipated ramp-up in demand from End Users to switch from their existing copper-based phone services to new VOIP-based services.

Testing is progressing slowly with 1 or 2 issues arising which are now receiving prompt attention by the relevant parties involved. Whilst these issues were not anticipated, it does confirm the value of doing these tests in the first place.

Phase 2 will extend the testing programme to encompass more complex supply chains involving other wholesalers and their reseller partners.

Number Porting developments

The ongoing spread of fibre-based broadband services (coupled with the well-publicised retirement of TDM-based phone services) is expected to stimulate consumer demand to switch over to a VOIP-based phone service. As part of this transition, most End Users will likely insist on retaining their telephone numbers and this has prompted the need to further automate the porting processes involved.

Blockchain Proof of Concept (PoC) – Potential strategic solution

The project is intended to trial the inherent characteristics of blockchain technology to assess its potential and suitability for each of the following numbering related use cases:

  • number management (i.e. Ofcom function)
  • number porting (i.e. industry function)
  • CLI authentication (i.e. to counter nuisance calls)

The Number Port Executive Steering Group (NPESG) have developed a detailed draft ‘requirements’ statement against which the Blockchain ‘Proof of Concept’ (POC) is being evaluated.

The POC platform build is progressing well and remains on track.

Improving compliance and tackling complaints

The Number Port Process & Commercial Group (NPP&CG) have now signed-off the new ‘port override’ process which is designed to counter the growing volume of complaints to Ofcom from subscribers and CPs. The current plan is to launch the new process in the next 2 weeks.

Once established this process will allow port orders to be expedited where a subscriber’s legitimate request to port their number is being inappropriately blocked or frustrated.

Service Levels

Copper & Fibre provision

Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 4.8, 5.3, and 5.9 working days for Copper, Fibre (MI) and Fibre (SI) installations respectively, over the 5-day period ending 26 May 2019 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).

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

Copper Repair

LLU and WLR ‘on time repair’ performance continues to maintain an improving trend, achieving 4 week rolling average of 89% and 87% respectively, by week ending 24 May 2019.


*The figures quoted exclude BT downstream connections

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