Telecommunications Adjudicator Update for March 2006

The number of lines unbundled has exceeded 360,000. The weekly throughput of lines continues to be around 15,000 and is due to rise significantly through April and May. The KPIs from OTA and Openreach have reached a plateau in recent weeks and thought is being given as to how to drive the quality higher. Focus on the remaining process issues and in particular New MPF Provision is stepping up. The Tactical Automation Platforms remain stable.

However there remain significant concerns in a number of areas.

1) The delivery of Backhaul for PoPs in exchanges is still unacceptable; this has been an outstanding issue for some time however the Quality Improvement Plan put in place by Openreach is now starting to deliver on its targets. The delivery to CCD (Customer Contracted Date) is now tracking the plan and the backlog has started to reduce. This has been achieved because the delivery volumes have significantly increased. A new Plan that will drive the Backhaul Circuit delivery to CRD (Customer Required Date) will be delivered to the LLU Executive on Monday the 10 th of April and presented to the LLU Exec face to face meeting on Thursday 13 th of April.

2) The delivery of Phase 1 of the Strategic Systems ( EMP) for LLU SMPF has slipped from the original dates. Openreach and the CPs are now in Pilot on this Phase; however some important deliverables and Pilot exit criteria have still to be fully agreed.

3) Full Operation of Phase 2 of the Strategic Systems ( EMP) for LLU and in particular for MPF (fully unbundled) is due to start on the 30 th June 2006. Openreach has been forced to slip some functionality into the next release (Sept/Oct) in order to be able to meet the end of June date. The CPs were not confident that Openreach would deliver on time and to required quality and had asked for more transparency on Openreach’s delivery and testing plans especially where it impacted the CPs.

OTA is encouraged by the additional steps being taken by Openreach that were discussed in some detail at the LLU Executive meeting on the 7 th of April. The general view of CPs was that the Openreach Plan has increased their confidence of an on-time on-quality delivery. The new initiatives include testing by an independent external third party and the assignment of dedicated Openreach staff to each CP to ensure smooth progress through their testing and pilot. In addition, Openreach report that the problems that occurred, and the lessons learnt, during Phase 1 have been addressed for Phase 2. Openreach have a high level of confidence in their re-plan and the OTA will help facilitate its success where possible. Much activity is still taking place by OTA, CPs and Openreach to ensure that remaining gray areas are clarified asap.

 4) Co-Mingling PoP build performance has suffered a significant setback. This has come about through the discovery of two new order backlogs at the start and end of the process that were not being counted in the Openreach KPIs. Performance reporting has been rapidly rectified and all orders are now visible. It will however take some weeks to clear the extra backlog as some cases will require new exchange infrastructure to be installed.

Bulk Migration continues and is achieving a good quality level. The Backhaul delivery issues from the last update that were delaying the Bulk Migration Programme were treated with high priority by Openreach. A new plan from Openreach that specifically focuses on the immediate ramp up of Bulk Migration volumes is in place to enable very significant increases over the next few months to be delivered.

There are no Disputes in progress at the present time.

I am pleased we have reached greater than 360,000 lines on the current tactical platforms and processes; even with the issues outlined above we are on track to achieve the breakthrough needed to deliver the industry vision of one million lines this year. However it is important to recognise that the Delivery of Backhaul and Co-Mingling PoPs in a quality manner and the move to the Strategic ( EMP) Openreach systems at a time when the CPs need the functionality are essential to keep the momentum going.

OTA will continue to focus in particular on: Backhaul & Co-mingling Delivery Quality and Strategic Automation ( EMP) Plans & Delivery.

Peter McD. Black

Telecommunications Adjudicator