Coronavirus Service Update #2 BT Openreach

Bulletin – Coronavirus Outbreak Impact and Industry Changes

We are currently experiencing an unprecedented situation due to the current Government lockdown and the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Please see below for urgent and important industry-wide changes that will impact how we are able to deliver and support our customers for the foreseeable future or until the current situation and restrictions change. 

Declaration of UK Wide MBORC
Due to the effects of extensive Government restrictions across the UK, BT Openreach’s day-to-day operational activities have been seriously impacted. 

BT Openreach is, therefore, declaring “matters beyond our reasonable control” (MBORC) for provision, repair, missed appointments and the availability of appointments, on a national basis, for all SD SAM patches and FND operational areas. 

The affected products that we provide are as follows:

• Ethernet

BT Openreach’s priority is to ensure that end customers remain connected at this time. They have asked us to work with our customers to understand alternative means of connectivity and to limit the movements of end customers between networks, due to the likelihood of an on-premises visit being required.

The full text of each BT Openreach bulletin appears below.

BT Openreach planning for the Coronavirus outbreak
On Monday 23 March 2020 the UK Government announced strict new curbs on life in the UK to tackle the spread of coronavirus. People now must stay at home except for shopping for necessities, limited daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home. These measures apply to all parts of the UK.

What BT Openreach does is critical to maintaining the fabric of UK society – connecting people has never been more important than right now. That’s why many BT Openreach roles have been categorised as ‘key worker’ status by the Government. 

BT Openreach also wants to ensure the safety of its staff and the general public. BT Openreach’s approach, based on the new Government advice, is as follows.

Repair Work
Repair work for both volume and business products will continue to be focused on restoring service with safe working practices, and with revised processes to further reduce social interaction wherever possible.

BT Openreach will now prioritise only essential work and absolutely minimise work that requires engineers to enter end customer premises.

Provision work
Provision work carried out by Service Delivery and Fibre and Network Delivery will be limited to:

  • Self-install activities (i.e. where there is no engineering visit to the end customer premises)
  • Service to vulnerable end customers (in-home and carried out safely, only where essential)
  • Those end customers who have no other form of broadband or telephony available – these will be dealt with via escalation channels jointly with the CP to find a solution that doesn’t require a home visit
  • On-premises work for critical national infrastructure customers (NHS, pharmacies, utilities, emergency services, retail and wholesale food distribution outlets, financial services businesses) and other categories defined by the Government

With immediate effect:

  • Appointment books will be closed for newly appointed provision with books moved out to 1 June 2020
  • We will attempt to complete appointed inflight orders outside of the premises
  • Non appointed orders will continue to go ahead where no visit is required to go to the premises (transfers, upgrades to Fibre to the Cabinet)
  • Repair books will remain open at this time- we are reviewing non-urgent repair
  • Engineers will be asked NOT to enter the end customer premises and to enable/restore service where possible from outside of the premises
  • We will ask CPs to help us identify Critical Network Infrastructure and vulnerable end customer tasks in order to prioritise these

BT Openreach Update regarding desk-based operations due to the continuation of the COVID-19 curfew being implemented by the Indian government

The Indian Government has introduced expansive restrictions and stringent controls on the movement of people in its attempt to protect the Indian population from the Coronavirus pandemic. As a result, this is having a significant impact on BT Openreach’s ability to serve us.

It is therefore announced with regret that from today, and until further notice, BT Openreach is taking the unprecedented decision to close their non-critical contact channels. BT Openreach will maintain their critical Damage, Welfare & DSO to ensure public safety and that vulnerable customers are supported but the normal communication channels for provision and repair of WLR (PSTN) will be closed and for ISDN there is open but limited service.

BT Openreach engineers and desk teams will continue to progress orders and faults during this time of CS contact closure.

We are able to continue to check our open orders and faults via the order and fault trackers however we will be unable to contact BT Openreach to discuss open provisioning orders and faults during this time.

The Escalations for PSTN will support the current caseload but will not be taking new work and will be reviewed throughout this week.

Impact on the Porting Industry
Lastly, BT Openreach has closed its Number Portability helpdesk team which has a knock-on impact on the porting of numbers across multiple Communication Providers. 

This will directly impact any port orders we have in progress or wish to place with BT Wholesale, as we will be unable to place any new port orders or gain updates on port orders currently in progress due to the helpdesk closure. 

BT Wholesale is working directly with BT Openreach, Other Licensed Operators (OLO) and the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA) to find a way forward. 

We have also experienced a last-minute port delay with a port that was being progressed by the BT IPEX team on behalf of our Network Partner Voiceflex. Gamma has currently advised of no impact or delay to porting however it is likely that Gamma ports will also be impacted soon. We ask at this time that customer expectations are set in that we may be unable to raise port orders in line with the usual lead-times and for some Network Partners we will be able to raise new orders entirely (BT Wholesale only at this stage).

Keeping the UK Connected
We apologise for the sudden notification with such a range of industry-wide impacts, however we are dealing with a situation that is changing daily and, despite liaising closely with them for updates, BT Openreach has taken steps to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak to ensure they are able to focus on keeping the UK connected and service running and to ensure the Critical National Infrastructure is served.

We appreciate that this is a difficult time for you and your customers. We will, as always, assist you however we can. 

If you have any questions, please contact us via email at: