OTA Update for February 2008

Another significant milestone has been achieved during February with the number of unbundled lines now exceeding 4 million with the month end number standing at 4.086 million and the indications are that demand remains strong as CP’s continue to implement their network strategies. There are 4.62 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS remains at 5.89 million.

Fault rates – OTA2 has recently shared some analysis regarding Fault Rates with the OTA2 Executive Members. The analysis was tailored to illustrate fault rate performance relating to Openreach’s access network in the context of overall fault rate performance as seen from an End-user’s perspective. This analysis served to highlight at least 2 important messages:

  1. Given the pivotal role which the Openreach access network has in supporting the entire UK Industry, it is pleasing to note that there is very clear evidence of a long-term improving trend resulting from a sustained effort on the part of Openreach since it’s formation to improve the copper access network. OTA are keen to review Openreach’s plans to further improve the Access network Fault rate performance and to agree ‘what good looks’ in terms of a specific target.
  2. The same analysis also highlights the fact that the End-User experience is increasingly a result of the ‘combined’ performance of ALL elements of the supply chain where, based on the evidence of the data collected so far, the access network is currently contributing 15-25% towards the overall End User experience.

The Executive members indicated their full support in helping OTA2 to develop an accurate view of fault rates across the whole supply chain and, in doing so, identify the major opportunities for improvement

WLR3 Roadmap - Last month we reported that the baseline plan was still awaited from Openreach, and are disappointed that it is still not fully available. However, progress has been made on moving the roadmap forward through discussions between Openreach and the independent Chairman of the WLR Commercial Group (an OTA2 sponsored working group). They have agreed that, once the Openreach plan is available, the commercial group will oversee the roadmap on behalf of industry.

Currently, the firm content of the next release and the provisional scope of the following release are known and CP’s are working with this information. It is anticipated that the plan will be firmed up and developed further by the end of April through a collaborative process between the WLR Commercial Group, CP’s and Openreach.

Sub Loop Unbundling – Some of the commercial elements of the current product remain outstanding. It was hoped that Openreach would be able to share the information earlier than the committed date of the end of March but due to the complexity of the subject this is unlikely to happen.

OTA2 Remit & Fora Review - During January we have commenced a review of the various groups who meet regularly in support of the work that we do. The review was aimed at ensuring that the activity being undertaken is still in keeping with the original objective and that industry felt the commitment and time invested in attending the working groups was beneficial. It is pleasing to report that all of the various working groups were fully supported.

It therefore seems appropriate to revisit the mission of the OTA2 itself to ensure that we are all clear on its remit and direction going forward, particularly in light of the transition of leadership from Peter Black to myself.

Working together, Openreach, CP’s and OTA2 have achieved major success in reaching over 4 million unbundled lines. This has been accomplished by constant and relentless identification of issues and a determination to resolve them in a proactive way. During this period the emphasis has, by necessity, been focussed on the interactions between Openreach and their customers with a belief that improving those interactions would benefit the end customer generically.

Those same principles will remain at the heart of everything that OTA2 does, to help ensure that CP’s have access to the products and services they need from Openreach to compete in a timely and cost effective manner. However, there is opportunity to place a slightly different emphasis on the end user customer as we go forward. Many of the things that we are now involved with are transparent to the end user who is becoming more aware of how they are affected by the way we do things – for instance in the way we as an industry manage their decision to move from one supplier to another, or how quickly or effectively we deal with a fault on their line. Therefore going forward OTA2 will more obviously look at things from an end user perspective whilst continuing to challenge the interactions between service providers. On a wider perspective, the OTA2 role is to provide an independent facilitation between Openreach and its customers, and to provide a robust challenge to areas where interactions need to improve, regardless of where perceived blame may lie, and whilst the original remit of OTA was concentrated on LLU, our activity now covers a much wider range embracing WLR, EMP, Planning, and Sub Loop Unbundling (SLU).

LLU Service Levels: Actual service levels continue to track the agreed Integrated Plan targets, apart from MPF/SMPF 20-hour repair which still lags the agreed staircase improvement targets embedded within the integrated plan. It is worthy of note that both MPF & SMPF provision performance maintained an average of 95% delivery on time (First Touch Last Touch metric) throughout Feb’08.

The LLU End-User Right First Time delivery of MPF/SMPF unbundled lines continues to remain stable averaging 97% throughout February. This metric represents an ‘industry aggregate’ view of SMPF/MPF delivery performance & is derived from data feeds collected directly from CPs.

LLU Integrated Improvement Plan: At the OTA2 Executive meeting in February, Openreach presented a preliminary view of the proposed Integrated Plan for 2008/9 – the Openreach proposal is based on a ‘cross-portfolio’ approach (i.e. LLU & WLR) and a single programme of initiatives aimed at driving improvements across the End-to-End processes – i.e. L2C (Lead to Cash) and T2R (Trouble to Resolve).

The plan is designed to achieve the ultimate targets agreed with Industry (i.e. 98% - Provision, 95% - Repair).

The Plan & its associated targets are in the process of being cascaded within Openreach.

Migrations Programme Board (MPB): The Headline Migrations KPI relating to Tags continues to track an improving trend and is now very close to the original target of 1% (Actual = 2%). This trend is a result of various improvements which have been delivered by Openreach and Industry over the last few months. The key enablers have been:-

  • EMP - Great strides have been made with all LLU CP's now fully operational on EMP which means that all CP's are now able to use a common suite of efficient provision/migration processes, removing the complexity caused by some CP's being on Tactical platforms and some on EMP leading to inefficient processes, excessive manual intervention and general confusion for CP's and End Users alike.
  • Cease lead time reductions - Reduced Cease order lead times from 10 working days to 3. The presence of an ‘open’ cease order on a line (e.g. outgoing tenant ceases their line) represents a Tag for any incoming tenant. Reduction from 10 to 3 days will significantly reduce the incidence of this type of Tag occurring in future
  • Simultaneous Provide Enhancements – Openreach have deployed a number of ‘system’ enablers in R700/Jan’08 (with 1 more planned for R800/Apr’08) the result of which is a ‘fit-for-purpose’ simultaneous provide process which we now expect industry to adopt and use in order to provide a more seamless experience for End-Users looking to migrate away from MPF/Cable or move home.
  • Reduction in ‘avoidable’ Tag calls to BTW Tags help-desk – All the major CPs have been improving their 1st/2nd line support capability for handling (and resolving) their own End-User Tag queries. Each CP has committed to reducing their ‘avoidable’ Tag calls in accordance with a set of Staircase reduction targets which has now been agreed on a bilateral basis with OTA.
  • The target position we are aiming for is to have reduced all End-User Tag issues to an absolute minimum (i.e. < 200 queries/week from 20k/week in March’07) and when these queries do occur, to ensure the CP community are properly equipped to handle/resolve any such queries to the End-user’s complete satisfaction.

The key remaining work streams designed to achieve our target position are:-

  • Flexi-Cease – This development is designed to reduce Cease lead times to ‘zero’ thus completely eliminating the possibility of a Tag – This should have been delivered a number of months ago but is now scheduled for delivery in EMP Release 900 in July’08.
  • Simultaneous Provide Adoption – Now that the Simultaneous Provide process has been enhanced in line with Industry’s requirements, CPs are expected to adopt the process as soon as possible.
  • Migrations Code of Practice – To underpin CPs’ ability to consistently use the correct processes and provide accurate advice to End Users, a new Code of Practice has been developed and will be launched during March’08.
  • This Code of Practice provides a single source of definitive (and authoritative) guidance for CPs to refer to in respect of all Migrations & Home Movers Processes.

The Ofcom Call Centre KPI which tracks both Mac & Tag related complaints from End Users is still tracking an adverse trend and this is the subject of further investigation between Ofcom and the offending CPs.

LLU Co-mingling & Backhaul delivery continues to perform satisfactorily, although weekly volumes remain quite low.

WLR Service Levels: Service levels for both Provisioning performance and Repair performance remains below targets and the flat trend continues.

Sub Loop Strategic Positioning – The development of the sub loop product to date has been aimed at the delivery of the BT requirement to offer access to sub loops for competitors. It has become increasing apparent that a more strategic view of SLU and any potential deployments is required to allow interested CPs to test the potential for large scale deployments. To that end OTA2 have been requested to facilitate a strategic workshop to explore the potential for a SLU solution. The workshop is planned for the end of March and we will report on progress at the next update.

OTA2 will continue to focus on:

  • WLR3 Baseline Plans
  • Reduction in Tags on the Line
  • Fit for Purpose Migrations processes & CP adoption;
  • The Implementation of the Integrated Improvement Plans from Openreach.
  • BAU performance measurement, improvement and publication
  • Industrialisation of Sub Loop Unbundling
  • Improvements to forecasting processes



Rod Smith   Peter McD. Black