March's FSP Round-Up

Added by Cathy Gerosa | Wednesday 29th March 2017

This month's call featured updates from several meetings including Consumer Switching, Service Management Forum, Copper & Fibre Process Group and Number Port Group.

Our next FSP meeting will take place on Tuesday 25th April 2017.

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Cathy Gerosa

cgerosa@fcs.org.uk

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BT gives Ofcom Openreach confidence

Added by Chris Pateman | Friday 10th March 2017

That's that, then.  BT have now agreed to Ofcom's requirements for the legal separation of Openreach.  No need for Ofcom to impose legislative sanctions, or go to the hassle of legal action or EU interventions.  Well, why not just do that in the first place, then?

Before we all step together in to the bright future that a legally separate Openreach promises to usher in, let's just take stock.  Remember BT chose to announce they were going to give Openreach greater autonomy -- and the appointment of Mike McTighe as chairman of its own board of directors --before Ofcom's conclusions were even made public.  Remember, too, that Ofcom said this was not enough.  Remember it was BT who then appointed Edward Astle, Brendan Barber and Liz Benison as the non-execs.  

There are no industry stakeholders among the non-executives on the new Openreach board.  But there are no former BT employees either.  It is a Board in the operational sense of having responsibility for the management of Openreach’s business.  This is a good thing: it gives us hope that quality of service and the value of Openreach’s engineering workforce will be properly emphasised in the years to come.  But it is not a Board in the sense of being able to raise money from anybody but BT, and on terms which BT alone will dictate.  This we regard as a systematic weakness in the Board’s ability to truly plan and behave like the long-term, steady pay- back player the industry needs a sustainable Openreach to be.  

Remember, too, that one of Ofcom's main objections to pursuing full structural separation was concern about the liabilites of the BT Pension Scheme and its underlying Crown Guarantee.  But now it seems 32,000 employees can be TUPE'd across to Openreach after all, although there will be some delays while secondary legislation is enacted to novate the Crown Guarantee.

FCS welcomes Ofcom’s announcement that BT has now agreed to Ofcom’s requirements for legal separation of its Openreach network division. We look forward to working with the new legally independent Openreach and Board.  We believe it is the first step is in the right direction.  However we remain convinced that – as both Ofcom and the DCMS Select Committee independently concluded -- the only sustainable and truly customer-responsive Openreach is an Openreach which is fully master of its own destiny, structured and managed as a utility company and completely structurally separate from BT. 

Nonetheless Industry needs pragmatic solutions to move forward.  We’re therefore pleased that CPs and Openreach are not, now, facing a lengthy period of procrastination and uncertainty. 

FCS works for the 98% of Openreach’s customer base who account for just 14% of its turnover.  As an industry we need to ensure that the newly constituted Board reflects the desire and aspiration of all Openreach stakeholders and customers.  We therefore call open Openreach, Ofcom and Government to take the next step to create a truly inclusive governance structure and arrangements to allow all Industry stakeholder constituencies to be part of an inclusive and equitable investment decision making process.  FCS is ready to play our part in this proposed governance structure to ensure the development of effective competition and quality networks for the benefit of all customers and stakeholders.

 

 

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FITAS Launches Lightfoot Module

Added by Jason McComb | Friday 10th March 2017

As part of their ongoing commitment to ensuring the highest quality fitting to all Lightfoot customers, the FITAS Lightfoot Module has been launched today

 

FITAS is an ongoing accreditation, meaning that engineers are required to update their skill sets to ensure they are up to date with the latest innovations, industry standards and fitting specifications. Part of this means taking on additional modules throughout the 3 year course in order to earn “points”, which are required to progress. These modules are varied to cover all manner of installation techniques, regulations and products, specific to different fleet and vehicle types. By providing engineers with these options, FITAS are ensuring they get only the information which is most applicable to them and their customer base.

Today, we have launched the Lightfoot fitting module, which our first batch of engineers have attended via an online webinar! Working closely with FITAS, Lightfoot has now produced a module which engineers are actively taking to ensure they know the product inside and out. This means they are fitting not only the best industry guideline practice, but also our own product specific standards. And, just to make sure they are paying attention… there will be a test afterwards!

Engineers are also subject to random auditing to make sure that standards are upheld and to prevent their accreditation from becoming a “tick box exercise”. This furthers our commitment to ensure that our accredited fitting partners receive all the information they could possibly have to make sure our customers get the best service.

Remember, by requesting FITAS accredited engineers, you are ensuring you get the best possible install to the highest standards.

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