FAQs about our performance

 

On this page you’ll find answers to FAQs about how we’re performing as a business. We’ve divided them into five sections.

 

Stats about our home and smaller business services

  • You’ll find these on our mandatory regulated KPIs page. We update them every three months.

  • The telecoms regulator, Ofcom, set a requirement for Openreach to publish a number of performance results following two reviews (in 2014 and 2018).

    We publish them to show our customers some of the service levels we provide.

  • The services covered are “wholesale voice line” and “fully unbundled lines”, sometimes referred to as “wholesale line rental” (WLR) and “metallic path facility” (MPF). We sell these services to communications providers who then use them to provide phone and broadband services to their customers (both home and business).

    Since April 2018, we’ve included stats about fibre broadband.
     

  • Ofcom finished its second review of the quality of service for our copper and fibre broadband services at the end of March 2018. The review covered the access connections we use to provide phone and broadband internet services, including fibre broadband, to home and business customers.

    The review lead to Ofcom resetting several requirements for the quality of service we offer for both installing and repairing our copper (wholesale line rental (WLR) and metallic path facility (MPF)) and fibre broadband products. The most important of these are the quality of service standards we have to meet for WLR, MPF and fibre broadband.


    What are the quality of service standards?
    The quality of service standards for copper and superfast fibre broadband are set at an aggregate level for the products. Two of these are set at UK level and the rest are set at regional levels across the UK (you’ll also see the same regions in statistics about our service). There are six quality of service standards which cover both installation and repairs. We’ve summarised these in the table below.


     

    Area of service  2018/19 2019/20 2020/21
    If we need to go to a customer (or a cabinet for superfast fibre broadband) for an installation, we should offer a first available appointment slot in 12 working days (10 working days for 2020/21) or less  89% 89% 89%
    Services should be installed on the date we agreed with the communications provider 91% 91% 94%
    Services should be fixed within the timescales set out in service maintenance level 1 80% 83% 85%
    Services that do not get fixed within the timescales set out in service maintenance level 1 should be fixed by the end of 5 additional working days 95% 96% 97%
    Services should be fixed within the timescales set out in service maintenance level 2  80% 83% 85%
    Services that do not get fixed within the timescales set out in service maintenance level 2 should be fixed by the end of 5 additional working days 95% 96% 97%
  • Ofcom set these after carrying out a public consultation. We, and several communications providers, responded to this.    

  • Ofcom based its quality of service standards on how we’ve been performing and how we should be expected to perform against existing service level agreements:

    • how we’re doing with first available appointment dates
    • the proportion of new installations we deliver on the date we agree with the communications provider
    • the proportion of faults we fix within the service maintenance level target timescale (service maintenance levels 1 and 2).

    You can use these statistics as a guide to how we’re performing against the quality of service standards set by Ofcom. But they don’t cover all the quality of service standards.
     

  • Each year we send Ofcom a report showing how we’re doing against the quality of service standards. If we miss one, it’s likely that Ofcom will investigate why, then decide if it needs to take further action (which could include, for example, fining us).

    Ofcom will take various factors into consideration in an investigation. These might include, for example, how much harm missing the quality of service standard caused, how much we missed the quality of service standard by, and our general conduct.
     

Terminology used in the copper and fibre stats

    • A wholesale voice line is a product that lets communications providers offer line rental and calls to their customers.
    • A fully unbundled line is a product that means they can offer line rental, calls and broadband to their customers. The communications provider installs its own equipment in local exchanges, which is called “unbundling”.

    We deliver both of these products using copper wires between the local exchange and the end customers’ home or business.

  • We offer a range of service maintenance levels to communications providers. The levels are based on the time we have to fix a fault after the communications provider reports it to us.
     

    Service maintenance level 1
    The target for service maintenance level 1 is for us to fix a fault by 23:59, two working days after the day a communications provider reports it to us (Monday to Friday, not including public and bank holidays). So if a fault is reported to us on a Tuesday, we must fix it by the end of Thursday.
     

    Service maintenance level 2
    The target for service maintenance level 2 is for us to fix a fault by 23:59 the working day after a communications provider reports it to us (Monday to Saturday, not including public and bank holidays). So if a fault is reported to us on a Tuesday, we must fix it by the end of Wednesday.

    If you want to find out which service maintenance level applies to you, you’ll need to get in touch with your communications provider.
     

  • A tail, in the context of these performance reports, is a set of customer orders or faults that have missed their installation or repair target and still aren’t installed or fixed. So a five-day installation tail is a set of orders that missed their target delivery date by five calendar days or more and that we still haven’t installed.

    The number of orders or faults in a tail generally goes down as time goes on and we complete them. That creates a tapering shape, which is why we call them tails. Orders or faults at the end of the tail – those that have missed their service level by the longest amount of time – tend to be for things that are very difficult for us to fix. And often that’s for something out of our control – like flooding, or work where we need permission from someone else to progress.

     

  • When an end customer orders a new phone or broadband service from a communications provider, we might need to send an engineer to them to install it (around one in eight installations needs an engineering visit). The communications provider can book a morning or afternoon slot for the end customer with us. We’re required by the regulator at that point to offer the first available appointment slot within 12 working days (10 working days in 2020/21).

    The first available appointment measure only applies to installations, not repairs. And the communications provider doesn’t necessarily take the first available appointment date.

     

  • We offer the same level of service for every product we sell – it doesn’t matter if it’s for business or home end customers. Communications providers often buy extra options from us (like different service maintenance levels), and also add their own packages depending on what their customers need.

More information about the Openreach regions

  • We divide our engineering work force into operational areas across the country, as shown in the stats. These operational areas are called regions.    

  • We do our best to offer the same level of service across all the regions. But we’re not always able to do that. For example, some regions can be more affected by bad weather, which makes it more difficult for our engineers to do their work and can cause more faults. This can mean that installations and repairs may take longer for a short while in some places.

    If there are difficult conditions in an area, we’ll do everything we can to get things back to normal as soon as possible. So we might increase overtime for engineers working there, or temporarily move engineers in from another region.

  • Ofcom specified which measures it wanted to be set out by region after its 2018 consultation. So we only show those ones.

Improving our service

  • We always try to deliver installation and repair services within the targets we’ve set. But sometimes it’s just not possible. There are lots of reasons for delays, including:

    • difficult conditions – like bad weather or another local problem
    • higher than expected work levels
    • vandalism or criminal activity
    • difficulty getting access to a site
    • the need to get permission from someone else before we can start work.


    Need some help?
    If you’re waiting for an installation or repair and it’s late or behind schedule, please contact your communications provider (the company that supplies your phone or broadband).

     

  • We fully support making our performance stats visible to people outside our organisation. It gives us an extra incentive to make sure we’re being the best we can be.

  • We’re always investing in our network to try to stop things going wrong. For example we build the most vulnerable parts of our network to minimise the impact of bad weather.

    We also work closely with our communications provider customers to try to improve the way we diagnose faults in the first place. But the sheer size of the network means there will always be problems we can’t predict – like floods, lightning strikes, and malicious or accidental damage.

  • Some installation and repair jobs take longer than normal. This is generally because of difficult conditions. Here are a few examples of things which can stop us finishing a job:

    • if we have to build new network
    • if we need permission from someone to carry out work on privately owned land
    • if we have to get hold of specialist equipment to finish a job
    • if we’re waiting for permission from a local authority to carry out work on a street
    • if we can’t access a particular site due to problems like flooding.


    We always do our best to solve problems like this. And we’re pleased to say that these types of delay are a very small percentage of the overall installation and repair jobs we do. We also constantly review our work to make sure this stays the case.

  • Yes. We’ve included fibre broadband in our performance information since April 2018.

Extra information

  • Most of the time you should go to the company that you get your phone or broadband from. They’ll then talk to us about your complaint.
    Having said that, there are a few issues you should raise directly with us. You should contact us:

    • if we’ve been working in your area and have left a mess in the street that we should have cleared up, or we haven’t put things back as they were
    • about the behaviour of an Openreach employee or someone working on our behalf
    • if you want to report dangerous driving by one of our engineers (it would help if you can get the vehicle’s registration number)
    • if you want to object to the location of a street cabinet or a pole we’ve recently installed.

     

  • We were set up to work for communications providers – they’re the organisations that you buy your phone and broadband services from. So they need to organise any installation or repair work with us on your behalf, including booking appointments and dealing with complaints.

  • If you have questions about a specific service you’re getting, for example your phone line or internet, you should talk to the company which provides your service. But if your question is about anything you’ve read on our “Our performance” page, you can ask us online. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can, and within five working days at most.

  • There are industry rules in place around lead times (the time it takes us to deliver something) for consumer switching and number portability.

    For example, if you’re switching your phone or broadband to another provider there are lots of rules we have to follow which are designed to protect you. One reason for this is to stop “slamming” – when a company takes over someone’s services without their permission. There’s a minimum lead time of ten working days for jobs like this, which is enough time for the old and new providers to write to the end customer to confirm the switch. It also means there’s enough time for someone to cancel the change if they didn’t consent to it, or if they change their mind.
     

    Who sets the lead times?
    The rules for switching services have been set by Ofcom, after public consultation. They’re there to try to stop consumers being harmed. We also set lead times for installing our services and measure our performance against those lead times.

     

  • Ofcom finished its second review of the quality of service for our copper and superfast fibre broadband services at the end of March 2018. The review covered the access connections used to provide phone and broadband internet services, including fibre broadband, to home and business customers.

    The 2018 review led to Ofcom resetting a number of requirements for the quality of service we offer for both installing and repairing our copper (wholesale line rental (WLR) and metallic path facility (MPF)) and fibre broadband products. These requirements will apply till 2020/21 or until they are reviewed and amended by Ofcom.