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February 1, 2024
Our recent report on the matter revealed Openreach has identified inadequate reporting by other fibre network providers and given them until April to get their house in order. But the biggest of them – CityFibre – rejects the whole premise.
Under the current system, a PIA (physical infrastructure access) user may record one visit to Openreach's network but install multiple pieces of equipment. This discrepancy can present as non-compliance, when actually it is anything but.
A CityFibre spokesperson said: "BT Openreach's whereabouts report, from which this data is sourced, is fundamentally flawed as it significantly under-reports compliance. We have shared this concern with Openreach as we believe our compliance to be over 70 percent, a level the OTA have suggested should be considered 'good'."
"CityFibre is by far the biggest user of PIA and works extremely closely with BT Openreach on its development of the product and compliance metrics. We continue to be one of the leading advocates pushing for all builders to improve their recording of whereabouts information."
Meanwhile, INCA (independent networks cooperative association) welcomed the extended deadline, saying it gives everyone time to improve all the relevant processes and record keeping.
A spokesperson for the industry group said: "This issue is equally important to altnets as to Openreach. It is essential that there is a record of where and when individual organisations undertook work, so that any damage to network or apparatus (whether belonging to Openreach or another Altnet) can be traced back to specific activities by specific individuals and organisations to ensure accountability.
"Whilst INCA recognises the importance of accountability and the adherence to processes such as the recording of whereabouts, we welcome Openreach's willingness and efforts to collaborate and seek solutions that recognise the limitations of current systems, processes and data and have the objective of helping everyone using the Openreach network to comply and coexist."
It looks like an arbiter such as Ofcom is going to have to step in to resolve this fundamental dispute about whereabouts reporting and compliance. It seems they’ve got two months to get involved before it escalates.
Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.
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