OTA Sides with BT in WLR3 Delays

The Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA) has issued their monthly updating statement in which Peter Black, head of the OTA, firmly comes down on the side of BT Openreach in the delays to full readiness of WLR3.

The statement, in referring to the WLR3 Baseline Roadmap, says, “Last month we again reported that CPs have remained reluctant to adopt WLR3 as they believed its capabilities were not yet at the point where they saw significant benefit over the existing WLR2 product. We also advised that, once again, Openreach will be unable to deliver all the anticipated functionality shortfall for WLR3 in R900 release, citing unforeseen ‘design & development complexity’ which cannot be accommodated within the current R900 development timetable.

At the OTA2 Executive meeting, held in May, Openreach outlined their new proposal to complete delivery of the required functionality in Release R1000 which is scheduled for deployment towards the end of the calendar year. This proposal was accepted by the industry representatives at the meeting, subject to final confirmation of functionality through the relevant commercial groups.

One of the causes of delay to these very important software builds is the amount of regression testing that needs to be completed in order to ensure that new functionality and content does not adversely affect previous versions of the build. It is common practice in large I.T. deployments to limit the number of previous versions which are supported in order to ensure interworking issues do not emerge. Openreach are currently supporting too many versions because CPs have been unable to consume new builds due to their own internal process constraints, or have not seen sufficient economic or operational benefit in upgrading to latest releases or have held back on upgrading until the functionality they require is fully provided. This could become a ‘Catch 22’ with development timescales lengthening due to constant regression testing and costs increasing due to the number of versions needing support.

OTA2 fully supports Openreach in their determination to limit the number of supported builds in the expectation that this will lead to more certainty on build delivery dates.

Openreach are developing a ‘revised’ Release deployment strategy which will hopefully address the issue and which will be shared with Industry stakeholders as soon as possible.”

The monthly OTA report also shows at the end of April the number of unbundled lines now stands at 4.642 million and the indications are that demand remains strong. There are 4.82 million WLR lines and the number of telephone numbers using CPS remained flat at 5.81million.