Our responsibilities

Our responsibilities

Service statistics background

Why has Openreach decided to publish service statistics now?

The telecoms regulator, Ofcom, recently completed its regular review of telephone and broadband services in the UK. One of the outcomes of that review was more focus on the quality of service that Openreach provides to service providers in relation to the provision and repair of the products they purchase. Part of that exercise has been to offer greater visibility to end customers of the service levels that Openreach provides.

Openreach is committed to offering great service into the market and fully supports this exercise.

Where can I find the service statistics and how often will they be updated?

The service statistics are available under our responsibilities and will be updated quarterly.

What services are covered?

The services covered are Wholesale Voice Line and Fully Unbundled lines. These are also sometimes referred to as "Wholesale Line Rental” (WLR) and "Metallic Path Facility” (MPF) respectively. These services are the principal products that service providers purchase from Openreach in order to provide telephone and broadband services to their customers (both residential and business).     

How have these targets been set?

Typically, service level agreements between Openreach and service providers have been developed over time through a process of negotiation between those parties. From time to time Ofcom (the telecoms regulator) also sets service levels following a process of consultation.

What are the additional targets that Ofcom has set for Openreach?

Following the completion of its review of the UK’s fixed access markets on 26 June 2014, the communications regulator Ofcom set out a number of requirements in relation to the quality of service (for both installation and repair) that Openreach offers for its copper products (WLR and MPF).

A key part of Ofcom’s quality of service proposals has been to set minimum service standards that Openreach will be required to meet for both WLR and MPF.

The minimum standards are set at a regional geographic level (the same regions as those shown against some of the service statistics shown), and are set against 3 existing service levels covering installation and repair that Openreach provides to service providers. The requirements of the minimum standards are summarised in the table below.

In summary, Openreach has 60 separate targets to hit each year: 2 products (WLR and MPF) x 10 geographic regions x 3 minimum standards.

How do these service statistics relate to Ofcom’s additional targets?

The reports in the service statistics are the service levels that the minimum standards are based on:

  • First available appointment date
  • Proportion of new installations delivered on the date agreed between Openreach and the service provider
  • Proportion of faults fixed within the service maintenance level target timescale (maintenance levels 1 and 2).

The performance shown in these reports can be used as a guide to Openreach’s performance against the minimum standards, but is not a precise match since these reports do not take account of certain provisions that Ofcom has made in relation to minimum standard assessment relating to the impact of "force majeure” type events such as severe weather.

What happens to Openreach if you don't hit the targets?

Openreach will be required to submit a report to Ofcom each year demonstrating its compliance with the targets. If a target was missed, Ofcom would undertake an investigation before deciding if any further measures should be taken. This could include fines. Such an investigation would consider, amongst other things, the degree of harm caused by Openreach missing the target, the scale of the problem, along with an assessment of the steps taken by Openreach to remedy the situation.

Service statistic terminology

What is the difference between a "Wholesale voice line" and a "Fully unbundled line"?

A wholesale voice line is a product that enables service providers to offer both line rental and calls to their customers.

A fully unbundled line is a product that enables service providers to offer line rental, calls and broadband to their customers. The service provider installs their own equipment in local telephone exchanges through a process known as "unbundling” that allows them to offer you both phone and broadband services directly.

Both products are delivered using copper wires between the local exchange and end-customer premises.

What are the maintenance levels?

Openreach offers a range of service maintenance levels to service providers. These are the targets (also referred to as "service level agreements”) Openreach has for fixing services when they become faulty. The targets are based on the time the fault needs to be fixed within, from the point when the service provider raises the fault with Openreach.

The target for service maintenance level 1 is for the fault to be fixed by 23.59 the day after next from the fault being reported to Openreach, Monday to Friday excluding Public and Bank holidays. For example, if the fault is reported on Tuesday, it should be cleared by the end of Thursday.

The target for service maintenance level 2 is for the fault to be fixed by 23.59 next day from the fault being reported to Openreach by the service provider, Monday to Saturday excluding Public and Bank holidays. For example, if the fault is reported on Tuesday, it should be cleared by the end of Wednesday.

If you want to find out what maintenance level you are on, you should contact your service provider.

What is a tail?

A "tail” is a set of orders that have missed their installation or repair service level date and remain unresolved. For example, a 5 day installation tail would be a measure of the orders that have missed their provision target installation date by 5 working days or more. The volume of orders in the tail typically decreases significantly as the days by which the service level has been missed rises – creating a tapering shape (hence why we call them "tails”). Those orders at the end of the tail – i.e. which have missed their service level by the greatest length – tend to be those that are very difficult to complete for a variety of reasons such as local flooding, need for new network to be built requiring third party permission and so on.

What is "first available appointment date (FAD)” - what does good look like?

Sometimes when a customer is purchasing a new phone and/or broadband service, delivery of that service requires an Openreach engineer to visit the customer’s home or business premises. Around 25% of installations require an engineering visit.

For these types of delivery, service providers are able to book an "am” or "pm” engineering slot with Openreach and Openreach has a target to provide the first available date (or FAD) for one of these slots within 12 working days.

Sometimes service will not be provided within 12 working days due to the service provider choosing a slot later than the first available date, for example to fit in with the needs of their end-customer.

The FAD measure relates only to installation work, not repairs.

Is there a difference between business and residential performance

Openreach offers the same level of service for the products it sells, whether they are being used to service business or residential end customers. Communication providers will often purchase additional options from Openreach such as different service maintenance levels, and also add their own value added packages depending on their end customer requirements.

The Openreach regions

What are the regions?

Openreach’s 30,000 strong engineering force is responsible for delivering and maintaining the products purchased by service providers to deliver telephone and broadband service to end customers. This engineering force is divided across the country into operational areas - these areas are the regions shown.

Why does service vary by region?

Although Openreach always endeavours to offer consistently high levels of service across all of the regions, a number of factors mean that consistency of performance is not always possible.

For example, some regions may from time to time be affected by severe weather – which can lead to longer lead times for installation and repair work due to more challenging conditions for delivering service. Another effect of severe weather is that fault rates will tend to increase in the affected areas and this will also have an impact on lead times for installation and provisioning work as the levels of work that need to be undertaken increase.

When areas are facing higher work levels due to difficult local conditions, Openreach will take all reasonable steps available to get things back to normal as soon as possible – such as increasing the overtime for the engineers in that area, dispatching engineers from other areas and so on.

Why are only some measures shown by region?

The reports that are shown by region are for the service measures that are typically most subject to regional variation due to, for example differences in local weather conditions. This is because the service measures that include regional reporting are highly dependent on Openreach engineers to do work in the field (i.e. outdoors) in order for the work to be completed – this makes them most impacted by local conditions.

Improving service

Why is it that some customers face delays for repairs and installations?

Openreach will always try to deliver and repair services within the target service levels. However, sometimes this is not possible, and delay can be caused by a number of reasons, including (but not limited to): difficult local conditions owing to severe weather or other local circumstances, higher than expected work levels, vandalism, difficulty gaining access to end- customer sites if needed to complete the work and so on.

If you are experiencing a delay with your installation or repair work, you should contact your service provider.

How will the service statistics help you deliver better service?

Providing more visibility of the service levels that Openreach offers will act as an additional incentive to ensure that the service provided is consistently at the levels required by the market (including both the service providers and their customers).

What are you doing to prevent faults from happening in the first place?

Openreach continually invests in our network to prevent faults, for example by ensuring that the more vulnerable parts of the network are built in such a way to minimise the impact of bad weather. The sheer extent of the network does mean, however, that there are occasions where faults may occur due to a variety of reasons, including the impact of severe weather such as flooding and lightning strikes, malicious and accidental damage caused by third parties and theft of copper cable.

Why is it that some repair and installation jobs still remain outstanding more than 30 days after they were due to be completed?

Unfortunately some installation and repair jobs can take a long time to complete due to local conditions. These conditions can include, for example, the need to build new network in order to complete the work, the need to obtain legal permission from a third party to carry out work on privately-owned land, the need to use specialist equipment in order to complete work and inability to access a site due to local conditions such as flooding.

Openreach strives to ensure long lead time installations and repairs are minimised (and indeed, such jobs represent a very small percentage of the overall installation and repair work that we do successfully deliver), but unfortunately conditions that are not always within Openreach’s control can arise and impact a small minority of jobs.

What is the target (where not shown)

Where possible, Openreach aims to complete as much work as it can within the service level that relates to the various reports, for example, completing an installation or repair activity on the date agreed with the communication provider.

Is fibre broadband going to be added to the performance information?

There are no current plans to add fibre broadband reporting to the site.

Additional information

Who can I contact if I’m unhappy about my experience with Openreach?

In most instances you should contact your service provider to let them know if you are unhappy with the service that you are receiving. They will then raise your concern with us. However, there are a few issues you should raise directly with us:

  • We’ve been working in your area and have left a mess outside in the street that needs clearing up
  • We’ve been working in your area and haven’t put things back as they were.
  • You want to object to the recent installation of a street cabinet.
  • You want to report dangerous driving by an Openreach engineer. It would help us if you could let us know the registration number of the vehicle.

You can find details of how to report these incidents here.

Why can’t I speak to Openreach directly to complain or to book an engineering appointment?

Openreach has been set up to serve UK service providers. Service providers are the organisations that own the contractual relationships with you as end customers (whether residential or business). Your service provider will be able to progress installation or repair work on your behalf with Openreach, including booking an engineering appointment.

Where can I find more information about service?

If you have questions relating to the specific service you are receiving you should contact your service provider.

If you have any queries in respect of the content of the Openreach ‘Our responsibilities’ site, you can use our online form to submit a question. We will respond to your question as soon as we can, and no later than 5 working days.

Why are some installations subject to a minimum lead time for regulatory reasons?

Customer switches of service provider of telephone services provided over Openreach’s network are subject to industry rules designed to protect customers’ interests in a number of ways. Switches of broadband provider over Openreach’s network will be subject to the same rules from 20 June 2015.

Consumer protection includes measures to help prevent harm to the customer from "slamming” – where the customer’s services are taken over by a service provider without their permission. The gaining provider is required to inform the (current) losing provider on behalf of the customer in order to organise the transfer. The customer receives letters from both providers confirming the planned switch before it happens. Under the switching process normally used across the Openreach system, this exchange of letters includes a minimum switching time period of 10 working days, thereby giving an opportunity for the customer to stop the order proceeding where they change their mind or in cases where they have no knowledge or have not given their consent to the attempted switch.

What changes have occurred in the regulatory environment?

From 1 November 2016, and following a public consultation, Ofcom made some changes to the repair minimum standards that are imposed on Openreach for the Wholesale Voice Line and Fully Unbundled Line products. The changes that Ofcom made has led to changes in the charts shown to include the Fully Unbundled Line product at maintenance level 1 in the minimum standards in addition to the Wholesale Voice Line included at maintenance level 1. This has resulted in changes to the following charts and their relevant subsidiary charts: Average working days to fix faults (Level 1), Faults fixed within agreed time (Level 1) and Percentage of faults not cleared after 31 days or more (Level 1). The charts are shown in the new format and start in October to align with the other quarterly updates on the site. All other charts are unaffected, and the historic detail associated with the previous measures (i.e. where it is only Wholesale Voice Line at maintenance level 1) can be found in the site containing earlier data.

 

Business customers (Ethernet)

Why is Openreach making these measures public?

Openreach is committed to offering greater visibility around the service we provide, and we want to show our service provider customers, their customers and other interested parties how our business connectivity (Ethernet) services are performing.

Why have the measures changed?

Openreach previously has voluntarily published performance information relating to Ethernet products. Ofcom has now set of performance measures for Ethernet products which has meant that the measures have slightly changed. Previously, we showed performance information for on-net and off-net circuits (see below for details), in relation to the time taken to deliver. Now we are showing the average time to install for all circuits. However, there are now additionally two new measures that look at the circuits that take the quickest time and the longest time to deliver. There is also a new measure that looks at whether we deliver the circuit when we originally said we would. The old measures can be found link

What are the Minimum Service Levels (MSLs)?

Following the completion of its review of the UK’s Business Connectivity market on 28 April 2016, the communications regulator Ofcom set out a number of requirements in relation to the quality of service that Openreach offers for its Ethernet products, covering speed of installation, delivery on time and repair. A key part of Ofcom’s quality of service proposals for the business connectivity market has been to set MSLs that Openreach will be required to report against for its Ethernet products. The MSLs are set at a national level, but we are showing a regional breakdown against each KPI. The requirements of the MSLs are summarised in the table below.


 

MSL

Year 1 target (measurement period May 2016 – March 2017 inclusive)

Year 2 (measurement period April 2017 – March 2018 inclusive)

Year 3 (measurement period April 2018 – March 2019 inclusive)

Average time to install a circuit

The average time to install a circuit must be 46 working days or less

40 working days or less

40 working days or less

Circuits that take the shortest time to deliver

At least 40% of circuits Openreach deliver must take 30 working days or less

29 working days or less

29 working days or less

Circuits that take the longest time to deliver

No more than 3% of circuits delivered by Openreach can take more than 159 working days

No more than 118 working days

No more than 118 working days

Circuits delivered by original agreed date

80% of circuits must be delivered on the original date agreed with our customers

85%

90%

Faults fixed within agreed time

94% of repair jobs must be fixed within the agreed timescales

94%

94%


 

Which services do the reports refer to?

The reports show provision and repair statistics for our Ethernet portfolio of products that offer high quality, high bandwidth and permanently connected point to point services. The provisioning and repair statistics relate to Ethernet Access Direct (EAD) (with all bandwidths included), Ethernet Backhaul Direct (EBD) and Cablelink.

Who buys Ethernet services from Openreach and for what purpose?

Service providers buy Ethernet services to build their own networks and also to resell them to their customers. The Ethernet portfolio of products offers high quality, high bandwidth and permanently connected point to point services. The products are used by service providers to build and extend their own fixed or mobile networks and are also onward sold, often as part of a wider solution, to a variety of end customer markets, including corporate businesses, financial services, government, retail and other sectors.

What are the adjustments?

Ofcom has made a number of adjustments to their Minimum Service Levels (MSLs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the first year of the new Ofcom regulated measures being in place. This is because a number of orders will were already in progress when the new regulated measures came into effect. That means the following adjustments will be made:

  • For the minimum levels of service related to speed (average time to install, circuits that take the shortest time to deliver and circuits that take the longest time to deliver): orders that are already in progress when the new regulated measures come into effect will have an 80% discount applied to the time period between when they were ordered and 1 May 2016.
  • For the minimum level of service for connecting businesses on time (performance to the Initial Contractual Delivery Date – the original date we provide): orders that are in progress when the new regulated measures come into effect will be removed from the first year’s result.

The first year for the new regulated measures runs from May 2016 – March 2017 inclusive.

What does on-net mean?

Openreach classifies Ethernet circuits into four categories (1, 2, 3 and 4). Each of these categories refers to the amount of network build required for the service to be delivered. Category 1 applies to circuits where existing network infrastructure exists between the Openreach exchange and the site to which service is being delivered. This classification of circuit is referred to as on-net.

What does new network build mean?

Openreach classifies Ethernet circuits into four categories (1, 2, 3 and 4). Each of these categories refers to the amount of network build required for the service to be delivered. Categories 2, 3 and 4 are collectively referred to as new network build required and apply to circuits where (sometimes significant) new network infrastructure is required to deliver service. This can include, for example, the need to build a fibre route to the service provider building, or new cable is required between exchanges.

Why are the regions different to the copper KPIs?

The copper KPIs regions are split by the organisational patches that make up the Openreach engineering team responsible for installing and fixing the copper products. The copper MSLs are also set by reference to these regions. For Ethernet, the MSLs are national (UK wide) and the installation and repair of Ethernet products are managed by a different team. However, Ofcom wanted to be able to track performance regionally, and so the regions shown were agreed with Ofcom as part of the BCMR discussions.

What is the ‘Central London Area’?

When Ofcom completed its review of the business connectivity market, they found that a particular area within central London is already fully competitive (i.e. no single operator has significant market power) and so the application of regulation is not necessary. Performance data relating to Ethernet circuits delivered in this area are therefore not subject to MSLs or included in the KPI information. This also applies to circuits that are in between particular data centres, where again the routes have been found to be fully competitive.. You can find out of a circuit you have ordered is in the CLA by contacting your service provider.

Questions relating to performance:

What does the chart for the average time to provide show?

It shows the average time between a service provider ordering Ethernet from Openreach and the service being delivered.

There are a number of factors that can affect this. For instance, new Ethernet services are often part of a much wider project or process where the timescales are defined by our customers rather than Openreach. When a business moves offices, for example, a customer might place an order several months in advance.

Where we need to build new network, delivery of the service can often involve getting permission to close roads or to build across private land which can add a significant amount of time. We also need to prepare a site that has not had Ethernet services in the past, and this typically involves complex civil engineering work.

These average timings do not include any delays which we might experience but are outside of our control – such as difficulty in gaining access to a site, or a site not being ready for service to be delivered. Delays that are due to end-customers or service providers are not included in the MSLs so they haven’t been included in this measure.

What does the chart for the time taken to deliver the shortest circuits show?

This measure looks at the circuits that take the quickest time to deliver. These circuits are typically Category 1 circuits, which have existing network infrastructure between the Openreach exchange and the site to which service is being delivered. For this reason, they are often quicker and easier to deliver.

These average timings do not include any delays which we might experience but are outside of our control – such as difficulty in gaining access to a site, or a site not being ready for service to be delivered. Delays that are due to end-customers or service providers are not included in the MSLs so they haven’t been included in this measure.

What does the chart for the time taken to deliver the longest circuits show?

This measure looks at the circuits that take the longest time to deliver. These circuits are typically Category 2 circuits where (sometimes significant) new network infrastructure is required to deliver the service, and could involve major road works a wayleave.

These average timings do not include any delays which we might experience but are outside of our control – such as difficulty in gaining access to a site, or a site not being ready for service to be delivered. Delays that are due to end-customers or service providers are not included in the MSLs so they haven’t been included in this measure.

What does the chart for circuits delivered by the original agreed date show?

This measure looks at the proportion of times that we delivered the circuit on the first delivery date provided. There are lots of factors that can influence Openreach’s ability to deliver this on time, and any delays impacting the delivery date caused by CPs or end-customers have been removed from this measure.

What does the chart for faults fixed within agreed time show?

This is the percentage of faults that are fixed within the target timescale of 5 hours, as in the contract with Ethernet service providers.

What does Openreach need to do to improve these statistics?

We have already taken steps to improve lead time performance, in particular hiring more engineers and making improvements to our internal processes. We are also conducting further process improvement trials with our service provider customers and we expect this to make further improvements to the delivery lead times.

To maximise the improvements that are possible for end customers, we are also working with service providers and third parties to optimise the aspects of the delivery processes that they have responsibility for.

How often will you be updating these statistics?

We will update these quarterly.