Following the broadband money

Ofcom on missed Openreach targets: you’ve been a very naughty boy

with 4 comments

As these graphs show, Openreach, BT’s in-house communications infrastructure provider, has for the past two years consistently failed to meet targets to provide and repair services.

Regulator Ofcom reacted this week by announcing that Openreach,which has an effective monopoly over last mile fixed access, has agreed new targets for service, and may pay fines if it misses deadlines.

The news will be welcomed by communications providers (CPs), but the terms are not onerous. The deal comes into full force only from April 2016, by which time Openreach should have largely finished providing fibre to its street cabinets to handle GPON for next generation broadband.

The new targets cover “wholesale line rental” and “metal path facility”, the two most common products Openreach provides to resellers, says Ofcom. They include 80% of repairs completed within two working days, 80% of new lines provided within 12 working days, and realistic estimates of when customers can expect the service they ordered.

Failing to meet the new targets, averaged over 12 months, opens Openreach to Ofcom sanctions, including fines. However Ofcom proposes that BT can use “extreme weather” as an excuse for missing targets for up to three per cent of repairs and one per cent of new installations in a “typical” year.

In a statement the regulator said, “Ofcom is concerned about the time it can take for Openreach to complete this work. The problem was most acute during 2012, when installations and repairs were to some extent hampered by extremely wet weather conditions.”

According to Ofcom, Openreach’s performance has since returned to pre-2012 levels.

Walter Wilcox, spokesman for the Surrey village of Ewhurst, which had an independent deal with Vtesse Networks for a fibre network “gazumped” by BT, reports, “Ewhurst (has been) without VDSL for 80 days due to inadequate equipment provision. (It has taken) 22 days to repair storm damage on eight lines at two locations.”

Ofcom also appears to be asking Openreach customers to pick up the cost of meeting the new targets. “Any increase in charges resulting from the changes would be at wholesale level, and estimated by Ofcom to be in the order of a few pennies per month. Telecoms bills have fallen in real terms over the past 10 years, and Ofcom wishes to ensure that services remain competitive and affordable for consumers.”

The proposals are part of a consultation relating to Ofcom’s fixed access market review, which closes on 13 February 2014. Ofcom will announce its decisions in spring 2014.


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2013/12/21 at 23:33

4 Responses

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  1. equivalence – you can’t have your cake and eat it.

    have you any benchmarking data?


    2013/12/22 at 09:26

    • Don’t be so defensive Neil. You could always have agreed lower targets. As it is, it appears the new targets merely formalise existing performance, so well done you for negotiating a 40-month delay before sanctions kick in.


      2013/12/22 at 13:29

  2. It is good to see the regulator is on top of things .. I would of thought the injection of £1.2Bn of tax payers money should of beefed up Openreach service good and proper? After all it is a separate part of the BT group that recently spent nearly £1Bn on sports rights after all..

    And in other non news relating to this story content, Thieves steal wireless broadband radio waves nowhere and severe storms fail to upset airborne electrons .. Major school in Ewhurst remains non fazed with Broadband and Telephone service etc..

    Happy Christmas to you all, and that does include the hard pressed State benefit receiving OR staff . Keep up the good work, you will eventually put genuine commercial competition out of business!

    with an endless supply of tax payers money? …maybe.. possibly… stay tuned…


  3. […] paying BT might also like to ask how BT can invest a billion pounds on TV sports contracts while Openreach’s maintenance performance has been so bad for so long that it has accepted it must pay fines if it misses certain […]

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