Telecommunications Adjudicator Update for November 2005

The number of Unbundled Lines now exceeds 163000; the current run rate of line orders is greater than 5000 per week and the Right First Time KPI is 90%.

A new Adjudicator forecast based on LLUOs Business Plans will be available later in December when we will re-validate all our numbers. We are still on target to achieve greater than One Million lines unbundled in 2006. Bulk migration has just started and approximately 7000 lines have been migrated at >99% RFT.

The operational problems reported over the last few months are showing some improvement. The Right First Time KPI is improving on a week by week basis and is heading for target, although still subject to fluctuation. Performance had been affected by a combination of automation and operational problems. These look to be on their way to resolution at the current time. The stability of this KPI is crucial in building long term confidence for the LLUOs so they can ramp up marketing programmes without worrying about quality of delivery.

OTA is leading Key Performance Indicator measurement work to co-ordinate activities between Openreach and the LLUOs; this is required to cleanse their statistics and agree common definitions for Performance Reporting We will also separately identify measures for Bulk Migration, SMPF, MPF and New Circuit Provision. We expect to publish the New Measures in January.

After many months of pain we are now encouraged with the current stability of the Key Tactical Automation platforms. We have reached stability on both the MPF and SMPF platforms. However we need a few more weeks of stability behind us to be sure we have solved the historic problems. Automation remains an area of forensic focus for OTA in support of BT/Openreach and the LLUOs. It is critical that the Tactical systems are further ‘hardened’ in both stability and throughput capability whilst the industry awaits the Strategic System delivery next year.

The Bulk Migration task team continues to make progress. An updated detailed migration plan has been produced for the next 18 months based on new forecast inputs from the Bulk Migrating LLUOs. Work is ongoing to smooth the forecast and ensure the IT systems can support the Bulk Migration process and peaks. Plan, Build and Backhaul issues could impact the intensive Bulk Migration Programme and therefore are being treated with high priority by Openreach. Bulk migration volumes are due to ramp up significantly.The Number of Lines forecast to be Bulk Migrated through to July 2006 is likely to be greater than half a million.

The Openreach Plan, Build & Backhaul processes have recently encountered delivery problems and have drifted away from target quality as volumes of PoPs have more than doubled. OTA has now had sight of the elements of a ‘get well’ plan from Openreach that has started to recover the P&B activity to acceptable quality levels over the next few weeks.

The ongoing quality issues on Backhaul are; delivery of circuits to Customer Required Dates and co-ordination of Backhaul delivery with the build of new PoPs. We have put new KPIs in place to focus on these issues and signs of improvement are coming through from Openreach. Delivery to Customer Contract Date continues to improve, however not enough circuits are meeting the Target Delivery Service Level Guarantee of 60 days or being co-ordinated with PoP Build. Openreach offers a pre-planning service to LLUOs that should significantly improve delivery times when used, this has however proven problematic for LLUOs and Openreach are re-assessing its effectiveness. OTA is focussing hard on this as it is having a knock on effect on Bulk Migration forecasting and volumes.

The implementation of the BT & Openreach Strategic Systems for LLU and the Transition from current Tactical Systems continues to be a significant area of focus for the OTA. The plans for Phase 1 SMPF (February 2006) and Phase 2 MPF (June 2006) have been signed off at the Market Breakthrough Executive. Some LLUOs have agreed to be Lead Implementation LLUOs and have now initiated their development and testing cycles to dovetail with BT ITs planned delivery cycle to ensure a quality implementation early next year.

I am pleased with the level of interaction between BT & Openreach and the LLUOs in this critical area. BT & Openreach and the LLUOs have put massive effort into working towards a joint understanding of what is needed and what will be delivered. We are cautiously optimistic that this will be a much better experience for the LLUOs than the Tactical Deliverables of 2005 turned out to be.

As a result of the Ofcom Review of the Adjudicator Scheme, Ofcom agreed to review the Scheme again in March 2006. The criteria for this review have now been generally agreed. One of the key criteria needed to get the LLU industry to take control of its own destiny was to ensure that a new LLU Industry Governance Model is agreed . I am pleased to report that Andrew Heaney and I have proposed an evolutionary Governance model and obtained general agreement from the LLUOs at Market Breakthrough Executive level and from the wider LLU Industry Group. This has been followed up by a letter to the LLUO CEOs. The first phase of evolution will be implemented from the 1 st of January 2006. The top level overriding LLU group will be an evolution of the MBE called the LLU Executive.

There are no Disputes in progress at the present time.

We have reached 163,000 lines; stability of the Tactical IT and improvement of the RFT KPI are evident and although there is still some way to go before we achieve the Market Breakthrough, it is clearly in sight. So with Bulk Migration starting to ramp up, the Order Pipeline growing and given the strong assurances from Steve Robertson of Openreach and Al-Noor Ramji of BT IT and their teams, I remain confident that the industry has the opportunity to deliver LLU successfully.

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

Peter McD. Black

Telecommunications Adjudicator