Telecommunications Adjudicator Update for November 2006

The Industry has passed One Million Lines Unbundled in the UK and is currently in excess of 1,100,000. This is a major achievement for the LLUOs, BT/Openreach, Ofcom and the OTA Team. Having passed this milestone, continuing improvement and maintaining momentum is now the focus for us all going forward. The Key issues are; the ongoing success of the Service Improvement Plan; EMP stability and industry adoption; and Migrations processes being fit for industrial use and adopted by CPs.

The weakest area of performance is currently MPF Provision. New Provides in particular are suffering from appointments taking longer to arrange than the target delivery time. MPF Transfers have improved recently although there are still quite a few questions on the robustness of the data that OTA is asking Openreach to clarify.

The Right First Time delivery of Business As Usual (BAU) unbundled lines has now increased from 81% to 83% against a target of 98% so improvements are coming through from the Service Improvement Plan but there is still some way to go.

Migrations; I reported last month that problems for customers continue to be reported particularly where the losing service provider is using LLU. OTA in conjunction with Ofcom and Openreach have set up and are coordinating a cross-industry plan involving LLU operators, IPStream Resellers and BT Wholesale to allow inter-product migrations to take place seamlessly. We have also developed an approach to ensure that customers get the right information about how they can best migrate their service between providers, a letter outlining the approach is available through this link.

Bulk Migration throughput volumes continue on track. RFT Delivery has improved recently and is closing on agreed quality performance.

Backhaul delivery now exceeds the improvement plan targets, an excellent result after many months of frustration for some LLUOs.

Assurance; Performance has improved significantly during the early weeks of the Service Improvement Plan.

Comingling I reported last month that PoP delivery to CDD (Contracted Delivery Date) and CRD (Customer Required Date) had stabilised at a level which was significantly (i.e.10-15%) below the agreed targets. The primary root cause has been identified by Openreach and actions are in hand to remedy the situation accordingly. We are watching performance closely as it has started to move forwards towards target again.

Although increasing numbers of LLUOs are using EMP, some continue to find it a difficult experience and are reluctant to ramp up their volumes. Openreach is working to bring the platform to a satisfactory performance level. A service improvement plan for EMP is being developed, it is intended to dovetail this plan with the Operational Service Improvement Plan and the Product development plan, so that an overall plan that addresses all issues in a holistic way can be executed.

The First Touch Last Touch performance for orders using EMP is not yet available from Openreach for publication; OTA understands the performance to be well below the targets that CPs and Openreach wish to achieve. There is also some difference of opinion on the performance being delivered; therefore OTA are driving two initiatives. 1) To establish an agreed Dashboard that Openreach, CPs and OTA can support and that will give CPs a clear view of the performance of the services they receive from EMP. 2) OTA will work with Openreach to help understand and underpin the FTLT measurements that represent orders flowing through the EMP system as we did some time ago for the Tactical systems.

Product Development; OTA welcomes the evolution in the Product Development and Management approach at Openreach. The new director Rob Sanders has given OTA a view of his approach going forward that I have inserted below.

Rob said

‘I'd like to say how delighted I am to be leading the Products organisation for Openreach. With our customers increasingly using multiple products across a single common EMP platform it makes a lot of sense to have an holistic Products organisation that recognises this changing profile and so better supports the needs of our customers.

My priorities at the current time are very clear: we need to provide a far more reliable and stable EMP platform. To build confidence in our commitment to this we will implement a revised SLA/SLG scheme. Secondly, in conjunction with our customers, we need to resolve the complex issue of migrations. This is not something that I can do in isolation and a degree of compromise will be needed all round if we are to implement a solution that works for end customers. Whilst pursuing these two objectives we will also need to remain resolutely focused on our Service delivery performance to ensure the significant improvements that we have seen in recent weeks are sustained and further improved.

I have recruited Ruth Pickering to take over from Tom Maguire as the lead on LLU within Openreach, Ruth brings Industry knowledge and a real customer perspective to Openreach and I know that Ruth will be a huge asset in achieving our aims.

Looking to the future, a million lines is a fantastic achievement but this is only a milestone - I recognise that there is still a lot to do and I am looking forward to working with our Customers in an open, transparent and constructive way to further develop a thriving and successful market for unbundled loops in the UK.’

The OTA looks forward to seeing the fully integrated plan that Rob is proposing that will wrap all aspects of Product Performance into an overall plan that spans Development, Delivery, Operation, Support and Platform performance.

There are no Disputes in progress with the OTA at the present time.

I am very pleased that we have achieved the OTA target of One Million Unbundled Lines in the UK for this year; however the key to success continues to be; getting the Right First Time KPI back on track for BAU through the further sustainable execution of the Service Improvement Plan from Openreach and the successful full introduction of EMP and the CPs’ transition to it.

It is becoming clear that the governance evolution that we planned for is moving ahead and OTA is taking a less prominent role in some areas. EG; Service management, where John Small of Openreach has taken over leadership and Products & Commercial where Carlos Leira of Orange is leading on behalf of Industry.

OTA will focus on:

1) EMP Plans & Delivery; 2) fit for purpose Migrations Processes; 3) BAU performance.

Peter McD. Black

Telecommunications Adjudicator