Following the broadband money

BT suspends Ethernet delivery system, seeks 1,000 more engineers

with 14 comments

News that BT is hire 1,000 extra engineers as part of its £2.5bn next generation broadband roll-out is welcome, especially for the long-term unemployed and returning army staff who face the sack after Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, it is tacit admission that BT’s HR plan has been a disaster. If you want proof, the Office the Telecommunications Adjudicator’s February charts provide graphic evidence.

The OTA2 reports that  “Openreach continue to tackle the serious supply chain issues which have had a major impact on CP Pop-site deliveries”, and further that, “Following a protracted period of ‘problematic’ usage by a small number of early adopter CPs, Openreach recently issued the following statement:-

” ‘Openreach has taken the decision to temporarily suspend Ethernet Access Direct (EAD) on EST in response to feedback from our customers who have raised concerns about the overall experience and underpinning processes. This came into effect on 15th February 2013 and is expected to last until September 2013.’

“This is a disappointing set-back for the Ethernet community, but given the strategic importance attached to this key development, and the need to ‘get it right’, the decision by Openreach to ‘suspend’ whilst a fundamental re-assessment is undertaken is a decision which is welcomed by the CP community.”

EAD  is Openreach’s point to point connectivity service for speeds up to 1Gbps. It’s pretty much the bedrock ordering for next generation links.

This must be worrying indeed for BT and all those who depend on it for Ethernet connectivity.

Those squaddies can’t come back fast enough, for the good of the country, in many, many ways.


Ofcom has responded to a request for comment by saying that the suspension of EAD has to do with problems with  a new ordering platform, Ethernet System Transform, that Openreach uses to process requests for service. However, Openreach can still use the old one, ECO-X, to process orders.

The OTA2 earlier described Openreach’s Ethernet service deliver system as “broken”.  Efforts to improve matters by by moving Ethernet onto BT Equivalance Management Platform had failed.

These back office systems are complex, Ofcom says, but since CPs have access to the legacy platform, the suspension has no real impact on Openreach’s ability to process Ethernet orders.

Ofcom remains concerned over Openreach’s declining performance with respect to providing PoPs and fixing faults. “Plan and Build is an issue that affects everyone,” a spokesman said. He points out that these problems led to Openreach signing a new Memorandum of Understanding that make it liable for fines for late delivery of accepted orders.

Openreach will pay £2/day for every day it misses the 13-day SLA, and £4/day if it takes longer than 16 days.

In return, CPs like Sky and TalkTalk have to tighten their estimated  line requirements from +/-15% to +/-10%.

Ofcom declined to say whether payments at this level were sufficiently large to get Openreach’s attention.  “We are confident Openreach is committed to improving its performance,” the spokesman said.

BT has not yet responded.


I have changed the title to reflect more accurately the suspension of Openreach’s problems with Ethernet deliveries. BT has not returned requests for comment on the suspension of EAD.


BT has responded (at 11.51 on 11 March): “Ethernet Access Direct orders can still be placed through the legacy system. We have acted swiftly to address some issues with orders placed via the newly introduced EST route, and in response to feedback from our CP customers will be suspending new orders on this system until we are confident we have worked through any remaining teething issues in collaboration with CPs.”


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2013/03/08 at 07:01

14 Responses

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  1. well if this blog hadn’t already show how far away from reality it was and its bias then this article should clear that up.

    Openreach have NOT suspended EAD.

    EAD is stil orderable and will be delivered via ECO-X

    suggest you update this article it’s totally wrong.


    2013/03/08 at 07:23

    • I have asked BT for a formal statement – nothing yet. Neil, do you deny Openreach wrote the letter and said what it said?


      2013/03/08 at 07:32

    • This from Openreach’s website:”EAD orders that are initially identified by the EMP system as local access or standard reach (less than 25km radial distance) will not be accepted until further notice.”

      To be fair, it goes on to say, “These orders should be placed via eCo-X only.”


      2013/03/08 at 07:44

      • So what has changed is the ordering system. The title is wrong?


        2013/03/08 at 12:44

  2. you don’t expect a correction do you Somerset? Nothing like Daily Mail style jurnoism! LOL


    2013/03/09 at 20:58

    • I am still waiting for BT to give me a formal response to the questions posed by the suspension of EAD. However, I accept that the title was misleading and have corrected it.

      Perhaps Neil you would now explain why Openreach’s performance has been below target. particularly repairs to lines rented to third parties, as reflected in the OTA2 charts is the way it is. Is Openreach as poor at fixing BT lines?


      2013/03/10 at 08:17

      • What questions did you ask? Does it really matter as ‘the suspension has no real impact on Openreach’s ability to process Ethernet orders’.


        2013/03/10 at 08:43

      • Ofcom claims that the suspension has “no real impact”. Communication providers may differ in their assessment of the impact. The OTA2’s January report says, “There has also been recognition that the process of service delivery is broken and that the attempts to introduce a new strategic systems stack moving Ethernet onto the EMP platform – has not delivered its range of promised improvements (if anything, some CPs believe it has worsened the situation).”


        2013/03/10 at 09:22

      • You forgot to add ‘We are very pleased to see the focus and recognition of the issues surrounding the Ethernet Services and will report progress in subsequent updates.’


        2013/03/10 at 09:35

      • What’s wrong with the OTA2 politely acknowledging Openreach’s ‘admission of guilt’? Well done to Openreach for owning up to the fact that its new Ethernet delivery system is broken. In the meantime, how many requests for Ethernet service have been postponed or not accepted? The OTA2 chart, which is provided by Openreach, suggests provisioning has been below target for a year, and getting worse.


        2013/03/10 at 10:14

  3. Ian – Can I suggest you delete this article as the title is factually incorrect!


    2013/03/09 at 21:34

  4. well slap my face with a kipper!

    As I understand it Openreach has had significant issues at least in part owing to the weather in the last year, well publicised and communicated.


    2013/03/10 at 19:07

    • From OTA2 January 2013:

      *Service Levels*

      *Copper* – Despite the heavy blizzards and freezing temperatures in recent weeks, Openreach have successfully dealt with the inevitable increase in fault intake levels, primarily as a result of the many initiatives which have been put in place regarding resource, overtime and dynamic hit teams, which collectively, has delivered a step increase in productivity.

      The slide to the bottom right hand corner of the graphs must be due to something other than the weather, Neil. could it be this:

      “Openreach Performance (i.e. PoP installations) has been badly affected in recent months (since Nov12) due to significant installation quality issues attributable to one of Openreachs suppliers.”

      or perhaps this:

      “Openreach have recently made changes to the Senior Management team who look after the Ethernet Services Portfolio.”


      2013/03/10 at 22:49

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