Broadband News

Ofcom starts 8 week consultation on Openreach performance

Ofcom regulation is often an easy target for criticism and given the time it is taking for a new migration system to appear and the other long wait which is the broadband market definitions for telephone exchanges many people judge the slow response as showing favour to BT or its Openreach division.

The latest consultation from Ofcom is part of the Fixed Access Market review and is looking at the performance of Openreach and the future path for WLR, SMPF and MPF LLU charges. The issue of Openreach performance came to a head back in 2012 when new orders and fault repairs for some parts of the UK were almost as bad as the pre-nationalisation GPO days. This consultation which will be open for 8 weeks will seek views from the industry on proposed performance levels for Openreach to meet or face penalties.

For the average reader the target of 54% of provision appointment being within 12 days of the initial order in the first year does not seem an excessive expectation, this will rise in the second year to 67% and in the final year to 79%. The idea of the rising targets is that it gives Openreach time to deploy enough engineering resources to cope with the higher targets.

The consultation also looks at the basket of prices for WLR, MPF and SMPF line rental charges, and the proposals give a range of pricing, but the likely result is that full LLU may go up in price fractionally, while WLR+SMPF will be slightly cheaper. Of course WLR has decreased at the wholesale level in recent years, but no reductions have made it to the massed market apart from a handful of smaller providers who are charging near to or below the wholesale cost in an attempt to gain market share.

Openreach we are fairly sure will contend that to meet the new targets it should be allowed a larger revenue base to employ more engineering staff at the sharp end, i.e. those working outside in the freezing rain every winter. Looking at this from the outside it has not escaped our notice that the higher performance levels are only going to come into effect once the commercial roll-out has finished and the county level BDUK projects will have covered the bulk of their work in 2015. Which may mean that Openreach does not need a lot more staff, but those it does employ will be more available for the standard job of maintaining the copper and hybrid fibre network.

Hopefully the consultation will reach a swift positive conclusion because as Internet access becomes just as important to the consumer and business as mains power there is a need for people to have a better idea of how long is reasonable for a fault to be fixed. Also the chinese whisper system that can exist between the consumer, their retailer, wholesalers and finally Openreach does need to be addressed, so that the consumer can get a better idea of how a fault is progressing and as we suspect in some cases the delays are at the retail level where their own system can make it difficult to get a fault correctly reported.


An open fault message system would be ideal for protecting the consumer from porkies being told at whichever level. All would see communications between levels (not within levels), levels being consumer, whoever is in-between and finally OR.

  • themanstan
  • over 6 years ago

@themanstan: completely agree! Two months to fix a blown master socket, no phone or internet for that period, including over Christmas, missed appoitments, fault misdiagnosed, call closed without ref to the customer, buck being passed between provider and Openreach...the only person being kept out of the loop and didn't know what was going on was me, the paying customer!

  • csimon
  • over 6 years ago

20 years of regulation and each party is emmploying consultants, AM, CSMG, Frontier Economics and Ernst & Young to resolve cost allocations for maintenance and repair.
It shows how important it is to record every penny being invested in NGA, so we can get the cost recovery on a proper footing going forward.

  • ValueforMoney
  • over 6 years ago

apparently my migration from infinity to plusnet needs 3 weeks to complete (for a few button presses). My initial FTTC install date was almost 2 months, who are openreach kidding?

  • chrysalis
  • over 6 years ago

Course, if the NGA stuff starts to slow up, a lot of the guys currently employed in it's roll out are not the hairy arsed pole climbing jointers the company needs on the business end.

  • Zarjaz
  • over 6 years ago

They should investigate why OpenReach and BT Internet are not providing the fastest ADSL connection possible on a rural line. Noise margin is currently 12.4 dB, it should be no more than 9 dB, but we are constantly told that is the best our line can do. We know that is not the case - for 12 months we had margin around 8-9 dB and sync speed of 3.7 Mbps, now we only get 2.7 Mbps! They advertise that they will give you the fastest your line can deliver - but then falsely restrict it with lower profile settings than it should be.
OfCom and ASA need to look into such bad practices.

  • michaels_perry
  • over 6 years ago

For a communications company, Openreach aren't very good at communicating.

  • slackshoe
  • over 6 years ago

Slack - openreach is set up to deal with ISP/ CP amd only act on behalf of service providers -- that is the regulatory model that operates in the UK

  • fastman
  • over 6 years ago

chrysalis that will be a mogration from 1 cp to another and will be dealt with in an equiivalent and appropriate mannner- and there will be standard leadtimes and the requirements for a engineering vist -- depending whetre you are thel leadtimes may be affected by MBORC which affects areas for storms / Bad weather whcih has impanct on both the provision and Repair workstack and is advised by openreach to the service provider -

you might think its a flick of swith but its a cease and reprovivde which requires openreach resource has to be dealt with an a appropriate manner

  • fastman
  • over 6 years ago

BT OpenReach are utterly incompetent

OR provided install date selection, I chose, they booked different date

On install morning they call me to confirm I'd be in. I waited all day but OR did not turn up

OR told my ISP I'd cancelled the install (no I didn't!). They also told my ISP they'd tried to call me (no they didn't!)

OR booked new install date

Waited all day for 2nd time, OR didn't turn up

OR booked new install date

Waited all day for 3rd time, OR didn't turn up

OR booked new install date

Waited all day for 4th time, OR didn't turn up

Full details of this farce:

  • mattleech
  • over 6 years ago

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