Telecommunications Adjudicator update for June 2020
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in June 2020.
At the end of June 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.67 million. There are 4.28 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.04 million.*
Impact of Covid-19
The challenges of Covid-19 continue for industry and its customers albeit that there has been a progressive return for operations. OTA2 have continued with a variety of online approaches for our normal meetings. 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. We will continue to monitor the situation with a view to either maintaining this approach or reverting to an agreed normal.
Please all keep safe and well.
EAD and Optical services have continued to perform well even under the challenges created with the Covid-19 pandemic. Openreach have continued to undertake the engineering work for orders even where end-user access is a problem and now have a number of orders built up to the curtilage of the customer premises.
EAD orders have taken a dip in volume but the Optical high bandwidth services have seen a marked uptick in demand. The challenge going forwards is, will we see a return to the volumes of EAD or what will the new norm be in a post Covid-19 landscape.
Reimagining Ethernet Programme (REP)
Openreach have received all the responses from the CPs with regards to their REP consultation. Analysis and bi-lateral sessions are underway. A revised REP statement and plan will be shared with CPs at the July EPCG.
Passive Infrastructure Access
Operational performance on the PIA product has remained good. The majority of Network Adjustment orders for duct blockages are being undertaken directly by CPs as Self Provide Orders. The Openreach provided orders for pole adjustments is holding up but we may see a dip in performance as some jobs close where contractor resource hit at the start of the pandemic.
Systems development - Openreach have opened their CVF facility for CP developers to use in testing of the API interfaces and functionality for automation. The CP developers will now be able to test the interoperability of their systems developments.
We have seen some challenges of CPs pole top equipment needing to be moved and have exposed some missing processes and procedures to ensure that CPs are informed of the activity and the work is carried out in collaboration. The initial issues have been quickly resolved but it is apparent that more of this will happen as build areas overlap.
Copper and Fibre
The Openreach concerns to proactive testing and subsequent fault reporting by industry remains an area of discussion and contention. Efforts are underway on both sides to seek a resolution. Openreach have presented outline proposals regarding how matters might be progressed and have requested CP feedback to which they will respond at the July CFPCG. If accepted Openreach intend to progress discussions with a view to concluding these within 3-months.
In March, Openreach proposed to make 3 changes to the appointing of customer faults but put these on hold as part of the proactive repair discussions. Openreach now intend to implement a slightly modified version of the original proposal, from 9 July 2020. This is causing significant disquiet with industry believing it is being implemented with too little notice and has not followed the full engagement process. Openreach informed the CFPCG that by June 2021 it will have 118 exchanges (including Salisbury) that will meet the criterion of having greater than 75% coverage on ultrafast and that Openreach, therefore, aim to issue stop sell notices on non-ultrafast products to those premises that have ultrafast availability. This has now been notified, for a stop sell to come into effect June 2021, which also affects upgrades and migrations.
Openreach have informed industry that it has identified issues with the quality of testing of some DFX orders following recent increases in demand. A plan is in place which seeks to rectify this.
Openreach has proposed the rejection of SoR 8572 – DFX Alternative option for BT only exchanges without space and power. Industry does not support the rejection and has been asked to put forward its response.
Consumer Switching and 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 & across different fixed networks (i.e. cross-platform switching).
At Ofcom’s instigation, OTA2 convened an industry working group (ECWG) with the task of developing the new switching & porting process.
Industry were unable to reach agreement a on a single solution and have submitted 2 alternative options (i.e. the X & Y solutions) which Ofcom are evaluating before making a decision. Ofcom’s evaluation remains in progress at the current time.
More recently, Ofcom have advised that the proposed Y solution does not fully satisfy the ‘express consent’ requirement and is not, as it stands, compliant. As such, Ofcom have invited the Y group of CPs to re-visit their proposal to see if it can be modified to accommodate the express consent requirement.
Ofcom have emphasised that they remain open minded as to which solution they prefer and await a revised proposal from the Y group.
Right to Port
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.
WLR withdrawal and move to all IP
Ofcom have written formerly to the OTA2 to ensure that adequate best practice is agreed with industry for vulnerable and CNI (critical national infrastructure) customers in moving to an all IP environment. The timescale is to agree with industry by December 2020 in advance of the Openreach trials at Salisbury and Mildenhall. The OTA2 have also been asked to reach out to other infrastructure providers to establish a common approach.
Copper and Fibre provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 7, 4.6 and 6.3, working days for Copper, Fibre (MI) and Fibre (SI) installations respectively, over the 5-day period ending 29 June 2020 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).
(Note: MI and SI are Managed-Install and Self-Install orders respectively)
LLU and WLR ‘on time repair’ performance has maintained a relatively flat trend, achieving a 4-week rolling average of 86 % and 84 % respectively, by week ending 26 June 2020.
*The figures quoted exclude BT downstream connections