Why Openreach needs 1,600 more staff to install and repair lines
The results of a consultation on the performance of Openreach that Ofcom started in December 2013 have now been launched and pending final approval from the EU (i.e. to ensure that no EU law is broken) we should see Openreach performing better in terms of the time taken to install a new line and fix faults on existing lines.
The new targets for Openreach will come into effect during Summer 2014, but not initially at the full target, a stepped increase in performance will be expected with the final targets in place for 2016. The new targets are:
- Appointments for new line installs should be within 12 days of notification. Performance target of 80% for 2016, but may be as low as 54% in 2014.
- Report publically on performance so that the public, industry and Ofcom can see how close to the figures Openreach are performing.
- For those installs outside the performance target, make reassure consumers over how long the work will take.
- Complete 80% of repair work within one to two days of being notified.
The news of 1,600 new engineering staff at Openreach shows the local loop operator is pretty sure that the new rules will be approved by the EU. The last few years has seen several spells of longer than usual fault and install times, often as the result of adverse weather and the lack of slack within Openreach has meant that backlogs build up far too quickly. One observation from consumers posting on our forums is that for fibre based broadband installs all too often the contractor based installs are those which fall below the standard one expects and genuine Openreach installers are left to fix the problems.
The one problem we can see is that the weak link in the chain can be the retail provider who the consumer is dealing with, all too often faults involve two or three days of back and forth with a call centre before Openreach is informed of the fault. For those who think that the 12 days to install a line, or require an even faster fault repair there are already higher levels of service and expedited installations available but it is surprising how many businesses complain of massive loses due to broadband or voice faults but did not pay for the higher service levels.