Telecommunications Adjudicator update for March 2020
An update on the principle areas of project activity being led by OTA2 in March 2020.
At the end of March 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.84 million. There are 4.27 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.98 million.*
Impact of Covid-19
With the advent of Covid-19, industry has had to dramatically adjust to the challenges throughout the supply chain as engineers, off-shore desks and support teams all move into special measures. Openreach have been rapidly adjusting its engineering work force to avoid entering customer premises whilst still carrying out essential repair work and provision where possible. Industry have responded in an extremely positive way with the OTA2 currently supporting many activities. Build and PIA activities have mainly continued, although are under continuous review. Whilst the industry responds to these challenges the OTA2 have radically adjusted the normal engagement activities by using web meetings and focussing on key and essential areas up until the end of June. These have all been reflected in the industry engagement schedules with agendas duly adjusted. We will continuously monitor these activities and adjust where necessary.
Please all keep safe and well.
Ethernet service is performing very well and remains in sharp focus. Openreach as with all the other products have declared MBORC with the Covid-19 crisis, the impact on BAU orders with customer sites not being available is beginning to show in the demand figures, but Openreach are working hard with CPs to ensure that the workstack is in a controlled state to allow the work to flow once any restrictions are lifted.
Again, in line with all the other products, a hierarchy of orders has been developed to support any CNI or Covid-19 required orders.
Reimagining Ethernet Programme (REP)
The CP community are in the process of reviewing the revised documentation. The next steps are to bring CPs and Openreach together to qualify any questions and ensure we all have the same perspective. Moving forward into trialling some of the principles and getting a handle on likely cost of implementation for both groups to enable cost benefit analysis.
Passive Infrastructure Access
Systems development is progressing well with the first API for Bulk Whereabouts released for CPs to consume and the API sandbox test environment made available.
Key areas of focus are how accreditation is working and any of the impediments to CPs getting staff accredited without having to undertake full training courses (for staff who already have key skills). More detailed and precise rules for the handling of Blockage vs Congestion where Openreach are asked to undertake the Network Adjustment, and a clearer path for CPs to undertake SPO Network Adjustments where there is likely to be contention.
We continue to work with Openreach and the CPs in bedding down PIA post the reference offer and resolving the teething problems with the operation of the product. There are active discussions on Auditing, T2R Processes and Forecasting.
Copper and Fibre
Up until the “lock down” the CFPCG had been functioning smoothly. Adjustments have been made to meeting types and scheduling to adjust to the current situation, and it is anticipated that there should be no significant impact to ongoing engagement.
A steady number of SoRs continue to be gated into the development process via the CFPCG and their progress regularly tracked. Overall, most areas of dialogue across Developments, Products and Commercial are progressing well and are largely non-contentious.
SOGEA, SOGFast and GFast were all notified for full launch at the start of April, although Openreach refusal to accept proactive testing and subsequent fault reporting by industry is proving contentious. Efforts are underway on both sides to seek a resolution with the upside of Covid-19 deferring this outcome.
Post full-launch agreement has been reached regarding the definitions affecting usage and allowable topologies, which have now been notified by Openreach. Agreement has not yet been reached on how fibre exhaustion, migration or the process assessing any case for fibre augmentation will be addressed. Industry continues to await Openreach publication of its proposed policy before any discussion can commence.
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. At Ofcom’s instigation, OTA2 convened an industry working group (ECWG) with the task of developing a new Gaining Provider-led switching process which Consumers will use when switching within or between different access infrastructures.
Following receipt of industry’s report in December 2019, Ofcom sent a letter to CPs (early January 2020) to request further work be undertaken to provide more detail (i.e. solution design, costs and timescales) to underpin the two solutions previously proposed by CPs.
Ofcom asked OTA2 to ‘manage and oversee’ the industry effort needed to accomplish the task set, by the end of February 2020.
Under OTA2’s stewardship, industry completed the more detailed submissions which Ofcom need, in order that they may complete a thorough evaluation of the two solutions proposed and make an informed decision thereafter.
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.
All IP – Migrations Testing Programme (AIP-MTP)
At the request of Ofcom, OTA2 are leading an industry programme aimed at 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 limited to a small group of major retailers and their respective wholesale partners. The tests are progressing slowly as various porting-related issues have surfaced requiring remedial attention before the tests can be satisfactorily completed. A key element of the testing being carried out is to validate timely activation of the End Customer’s new digital voice service once their new broadband service has been commissioned. This should only take 15-20 minutes but is proving difficult to achieve in the testing completed to date.
The testing to date has focused on migrations to SOGEA (Single order GEA) - based broadband services, with migrations to FTTP-based services to follow.
Copper and Fibre provision
Openreach FAD (First Available Appointment Date) performance nationally, has been averaging 29, 6.2 and 5.4, working days for Copper, Fibre (MI) and Fibre (SI) installations respectively, over the 5-day period ending 29 March 2020 (vs backstop SLA of 12 working days).
Copper FAD performance has been significantly impacted by special measures having to be imposed by Openreach to counter the spread of the Covid-19 virus and to protect their field engineers.
(Note: MI and SI are Managed-Install and Self-Install orders respectively)
LLU and WLR ‘on time repair’ performance has improved slightly, achieving a 4-week rolling average of 83% and 80% respectively, by week ending 27 March 2020.
*The figures quoted exclude BT downstream connections