Telecommunications Adjudicator Update for September 2005

The number of Unbundled Lines now exceeds 123000; the current run rate of lines provisioned is approximately 4000 per week.

However the operational problems reported over the last couple of months continue to persist and are giving me significant cause for concern. The Right First Time KPI continues to be negatively impacted due to provisioning problems. Current poor performance is being caused by a combination of automation instability, poor software problem handling, volume growth and resource shortfalls. This has led to an overall deterioration in the quality of delivery.

Steve Robertson, CEO of openreach, has assured me he is reviewing the overall situation and is giving the Operational and IT issues his highest priority. Steve has already taken action to significantly increase systems capacity and operational resource levels as well as increasing the focus on systems availability. After many months of steady progress BT, the OTA and the LLUOs are disappointed at the current setbacks and are focussed on getting back on track.

OTA has extended its forensic approach to the underlying components of BT and selected LLUO KPI measurements. We have discovered a number of inconsistencies in interpretation and execution and we are co-ordinating activities between BT and LLUOs to cleanse the statistics and their reporting.

The OTA has changed its view to ‘disappointed’ about the status of the Key Tactical Automation platforms. We have reached stability in one area whilst suffering continued disruption in others.

Address matching also continues to be an area of concern for some LLUOs, however focus has now moved on to the key deliverable from BT that is due in December 2005, i.e. NAD (Name & Address Database).

As a result of our concerns, Automation remains an area of forensic focus for OTA in support of BT and the LLUOs. It is critical that the Tactical systems are further ‘hardened’ to become robust, quality, automated provisioning systems whilst the industry awaits the Strategic System delivery next year.

The Bulk Migration task team continues to make progress in defining processes and evaluating the projected volumes of lines to be migrated. A detailed migration plan has been produced for the next 18 months. The team are finalising a process that will nail down commitments by LLUOs and BT on a rolling basis. Work is ongoing to smooth the forecast and ensure the IT systems can support the Bulk Migration process and peaks. LLUOs continue to express improved confidence with BT plans as they evolve. A number of the current IT issues could delay the start of the intensive Bulk Migration Programme and therefore are being treated with high priority by BT.

The BT Plan & Build process has unfortunately encountered delivery problems and has drifted significantly from target quality as volumes have doubled. This drop in quality is being addressed urgently to avoid further deterioration. I am assured by BT that the Plan and Build process will be back on track to deliver market requirements and performance levels within three to four weeks.

The implementation of the BT Strategic Systems for LLU and the Transition from current Tactical Systems continues to be a significant area of focus for the OTA. Intensive workshop and planning sessions are well supported by LLUOs and BT. All activity is focussed on the major deliverables of 1) New Address Matching Capability (NAD) due Dec 05, 2) Strategic Phase 1 for SMPF Spring 06, 3) Strategic Phase 2 for MPF Summer 06.

It is important that LLUOs have enough confidence in the BT plan to initiate their development and testing cycles to dovetail with BT’s planned delivery cycle to ensure a quality implementation early next year.

The most concerning issues on Backhaul are; delivery of circuits and co-ordination with the build of POPs. This has been an area of weakness for some time. New KPIs are in place to focus on these issues and good signs of improvement are coming through from BT. Delivery to Customer Contract Date has improved, however few circuits are meeting the Target Delivery SLG of 60 days or being co-ordinated with PoP Build.

There are no Disputes in progress at the present time.

I am pleased that we have reached 123,000 lines; however the operational problems the industry are experiencing confirm there is still some way to go before we consolidate the Market Breakthrough we all aspire to. However; given the strong assurances from Steve Robertson and his team, I remain confident that the industry will deliver LLU successfully. We look forward to the creation of openreach enabling a step-up in focus and widening of capability on the delivery of LLU and the Systems to support the industry’s success.

OTA will continue to focus in particular on a) Operational Stability, b) Tactical Automation Stability c) Bulk Migration and d) Credible Strategic Automation Plans.

Peter McD. Black

Telecommunications Adjudicator