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Frequently asked questions

1. Openreach.co.uk

Q1 I want to complain about the fact that my cabinet wonít be capable of delivering superfast broadband?
We understand your frustration and whilst there are current commercial and technical restrictions, technology develops and the position may change moving forward. Please can we ask that you keep a close eye on the Openreach website for any future developments.

Q2 Iíve been told that my cabinet wonít be capable of delivering superfast broadband. Is that it for me?
No. Itís not necessarily the end of the road for you! Weíre looking at solutions to overcome the technical limitations of some cabinets. For example, it may well be that weíll be able to by-pass your cabinet altogether and install pure fibre route from your home or office to the exchange. If that course of action proves to be an economically viable proposition for us, your communications provider could well be offering you download speeds of up to 100Mbit/s in the future!

Q3 Who are your customers?
Communications Providers - businesses who provide telephony and internet services to homes and businesses. This also includes other parts of BT. By providing a level playing field on which Communications Providers can compete, we enable them to deliver innovative and competitive services to the 60 million people living and working in the UK.

Q4 Do you have competitors?
We are in competition with alternative access technologies such as Cable and Wireless.

Q5 Can consumers and businesses buy directly from Openreach?
Consumers and Businesses can ask Openreach to undertake work on their own wiring (i.e. after the termination point) and Openreach can bill directly for this work. This may depend, however, on the arrangements between the consumer and their CP.

Q6 Do you really treat BT like any other customer?
Yes. Openreach was established to provide the same services at the same prices to BT's other divisions in ways that are open and transparent and which overcome any suggestion that other parts of BT are favoured at the expense of the interests of Openreach's customers.

Q7 What does 'improving service' look like?
Openreach strives not just to provide, maintain and repair the access and backhaul infrastructures, but to improve both service and reliability. We are also reinventing our infrastructure to support the continuing success of the UK telecommunications industry - ultimately enabling it to deliver more choice, better products and lower prices for its customers and to build profitable businesses.

Q8 Will BT issue the findings of the EAB?
There is no requirement on either BT or the EAB to publish the EAB's findings. However, the EAB is required by the Undertakings to report annually to Ofcom on BT's compliance with the Undertakings and to publish a summary report annually.

Q9 I represent a group (community, business or public body) and want to find out more about how superfast broadband might be made available in our area. Who can we talk to?
We would be delighted to engage with you to understand your priorities and proposed approach to the business case. If an investment is coming from public subsidy, we would expect to be one of a number of bidders, as part of an open tender. Even so, we would still be happy to advise on the potential for delivering Super-fast Fibre Access over a fixed line network. Whether or not you have secured funding for such a project, feel free to contact us at ngb@openreach.co.uk

Q10 I want to register my interest in superfast broadband, so that I can be told when itís coming to my area. What do I do?
Contact your communications provider. Alternatively you can check progress on our superfast web site at http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/

Q11 My existing communications provider says they wonít be selling super-fast broadband. How can I find out who might be selling it where I am?
Check out the websites of the major High Street brands. You can be sure that one or more of them will be delighted to supply you with a super-fast broadband service. Thatís the advantage of Superfast Fibre Access. It leaves you free to choose the right communications provider for you from a list of well over 400. This kind of competition also helps to control retail prices.

Q12 Who do I contact for line-plant rearrangement work?
The contact details for the Network re-arrangement team can be found at: http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/network/alteringournetwork/alterationcontacts/alterationcontacts.do

Q13 Who do I need to contact when I have a technical issue with an Openreach system?
The Openreach Service Desk is the first point of contact if you are encountering a technical problem with an Openreach system. They can contacted on 0800 085 1287 or via e-mail Openreach.service.desk@openreach.co.uk.

Q14 Where do I get a 'Congo' reference?
A Congo reference is an internal Openreach reference used by our 'NewSites' teams. Their contact details are available on the Openreach Website: http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/network/developingournetwork/newsiteregionalcontacts/regionalcontacts.do

Q15 Can I transfer a BT Retail Embark line into the WLR portfolio?
No, it is not possible to transfer a Embark line into the WLR portfolio. To do this, you will first need to get the product converted into one that is compatible with WLR.

Q16 Can I transfer a BT Retail Featurenet line into the WLR portfolio?
No, it is not possible to transfer a Featurenet line into the WLR portfolio. In this situation, you will need first to get the product converted into one that is compatible with WLR.

Q17 Can I transfer a BT Retail Featureline into WLR portfolio?
No, it is not possible to transfer a Featureline into the WLR portfolio; however it is possible to Convert a Featureline into the WLR portfolio.

Q18 Where can I find a Communications Provider Identifier (CUPID) code?
CUPID codes can be found on the Ofcom website, as it is Ofcom who allocate these.

Q19 Can I order Call Party Answer (CPA) on a multiline?
No, CPA can only be ordered on a single PSTN line. The Line Reversal functionality that CPA provides is an embedded network feature on a PSTN Multi and as such, no separate order is required.

Q20 Can I record my own messages, or access them remotely on Wholesale 1571?
No, this functionality is only available on the Call Minder product.

Q21 How do I unlock/re-activate my account?
There are links on the Portal home page (www.openreach.co.uk) where you can request help if you have locked your account or have forgotten your password. These are located in the 'Login' section of the home page towards the top right of the screen.

Q22 I live in a rural location. I canít even get broadband now at the proper speed. Will I ever get superfast broadband?
The cost of extending our fibre network beyond cities and large towns is huge. As a business, we have to recoup such costs. In areas where the take-up of superfast broadband is likely to be comparatively small, we would be forced to charge our customers a premium for providing the required access. They would obviously expect you to pay a similar premium. In short, the cost to you would be prohibitive. This hasnít prevented us from exploring the challenges of upgrading our network in rural areas. Weíre doing precisely that in Radstock near Bath and at Yaxley in Cambridgeshire. However, the reality is that it could well take a government subsidy to bring superfast broadband to you.

Q23 What is the profit / EBITDA for Openreach?
Openreach's financial results are reported on a quarterly basis along with the rest of the Group, and detailed financial information can be found in the BT Group annual report and accounts.

Q24 Have other companies - who rely on Openreach engineers - been asked to contribute to any awareness campaign so their customers know to let the engineers in? Either in terms of funding that campaign or using their own marketing to alert customers?
Yes. We have been working in tandem with Communications Providers during all of this activity to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the public and with this in mind, we set up an industry forum specifically for this purpose.

Q25 Is BT Wholesale able to sell Openreach products to its customers to avoid them having to buy services from two parts of BT?
Yes, BTW is able to provide its customers with both Openreach and BTW products in certain circumstances. The terms under which Openreach products are sold are the same irrespective of where in the BT Group the customer chooses to buy them from.

Q26 Is Openreach able to sell other wholesale products to its customers to avoid them having to buy services from two parts of BT?
Generally not. However, where a customer needs its purchase of non-Openreach BT services co-ordinated with the supply of Openreach products, or if it buys its BT products predominantly from Openreach and would find a single point of contact more convenient to purchase low volumes of non-Openreach products, then Openreach will show flexibility. But its primary role is to sell its portfolio of products rather than that of BT Group's.

Q27 I am a customer not a service provider / Telco, who do I contact regarding tags on the line for moving Broadband provider.
The Broadband TAGs team will only speak to an Internet Service Provider (ISP), and as such the end user should contact their ISP who will arrange for this TAG to be removed. The number for the Broadband Tags team is 0800 0857023.

Q28 How does customer controlled call forwarding work on ISDN2?
The customer needs to utilise their Customers Premises Equipment (CPE) to use this Network feature.

Q29 Can you utilise the 1470 code on Digital lines?
No the release of the number on a per call basis can only be managed by the switch equipment.

Q30 My customer wants Multiple Subscriber Numbers (MSN's) on their Digital Standard ISDN2 circuit, how many can they have?
The customer can have 10 MSN's, and nine of those can be different numbers (1st number is main line).

Q31 Is it possible to add a DDI to an ISDN30 Digital Access Signalling System (DASS) type circuit?
As long as the existing ISDN30 DASS is not a single main number, then yes DDI's can be added, as they do not exceed the standard 5 DDI range limit

Q32 Can you have a Multi Subscriber Number (MSN) on an ISDN30 circuit?
No, a MSN is only compatible with a Digital Standard ISDN2 line; however it is possible to request that these MSN are converted to become a Single Number Direct Dialling In (SNDDI) on the ISDN30 line.

Q33 How much does Changed Number Intercept (CNI) cost on an ISDN2 or ISDN30 circuit, where the main line is part of a DDI range?
Where the main line is part of the DDI range, the cost of setting up CNI will utilise the CNI DDI charges, ISDN2 and ISDN30 pricing can be found on in the pricing section of this site.

Q34 What types of Presentation Number (PN) are there?
There are a total of 5 types of PN of which Type 1 and 2 are supported Type 1 A presentation number is generated by the subscriber's network provider. The number is stored in the network and applied to an outgoing call at the local exchange by the provider. Because the number is applied by network equipment there is no need for it to be verified each time a call is made ? instead the level of authenticity will depend on the checks made by a network provider that a subscriber is entitled to use a particular presentation number.Type 2 A presentation number which identifies a caller's extension number behind a Direct Dialling In (DDI) switchboard. Although the number or partial number is generated by the user's own equipment, the network provider is able to check that it falls within the range and length allocated to a particular subscriber. In this way the authenticity of the number may be ensured. It should be noted that some network providers classify type 2 presentation numbers as network numbers (especially where the full number is constituted at the local exchange). This type of number is considered to carry sufficient authenticity to be classified as a network number and is carried as such by some networks.

Q35 What is the maximum number of channels that an Integrated Services Digital Network 2 (ISDN2) circuit can have?
The only limit that exists when ordering channels for an ISDN2 circuit is that of the capacity available at the local exchange.

Q36 Is Openreach part of BT?
Yes. It is, however, operationally distinct from the rest of BT with a high level of independence. Openreach treats all Communications Providers equally - and is seen to do so. Its name is also distinct.

Q37 When did Openreach become operational?
Openreach became operational in January 2006.

Q38 Is Openreach trying to sell me something?
No. It's our job to make sure that the connection from here to your provider's network is working. They pay us to do it ? you don't. In fact, our engineers can't give you advice about the suitability of any products or services because it would be unfair for them to recommend the products of one of our customers over another. We have to be fair to all of them and give them an equal chance of getting your business! For completely impartial advice you can get in touch with Ofcom, the regulatory body that oversees the telecoms industry. Vist the Ofcom site for more information http://www.ofcom.org.uk

Q39 I'm sure my telephone bill was wrong last month. Can you sort it out for me?
Sorry, no. Your Communications Provider is the one who sends you your bill. You will have to talk to them to sort out any problems.

Q40 What should people - businesses and residential customers - do if they want to contact Openreach?
There's no need to contact Openreach directly. Openreach works for all the Communications Providers which use Openreach's access and backhaul networks to deliver their own services to end-users. So end-users should just continue dealing with the companies they have chosen to provide them with the services they need. That goes for customers of BT's own retail division too. However, complaints can be submitted directly via the contact us mechanism on the website.

Q41 What is the potential impact on the local economy?
For a start, Openreach generates over £5 billion of revenue every year. It employs more than 30,000 people, all of whom contribute to their local economies and local communities through their spending power. They buy goods and services from local suppliers, and pay council taxes to local authorities. Openreach is also investing considerably in new capital projects, such as the provision of next-generation superfast broadband services. A fair proportion will be invested in this area through normal day-to-day business operations.

Q42 Why should businesses and residential customers be interested in this internal BT structural set-up?
Because it aims at safeguarding their interests by encouraging the entire communications industry to innovate and to compete more efficiently. The industry will do this by providing homes and businesses with new, exciting and value-for-money services in all areas from new high-speed data business services, to television, video, popular and classical music and a host of educational and leisure applications. This is especially important in this modern era of "broadband" where the potential of high-speed communications is much greater than in the old days of basic voice telephone services. It is therefore much more important that no-one, including companies developing new applications for the technology, and marketing and delivering them to their customers, is inhibited in their ability to reach customers over the BT network.

Q43 What was the Ofcom Telecoms Strategic Review (TSR) which led to Openreach's creation and why is it important?
The creation of Openreach was actually BT's suggestion to deal with the issues raised by the TSR, which was a fundamental review of the rules and regulations that cover the UK's telecommunications industry, the most comprehensive review of the industry since the privatisation of BT in 1984. Regulation reflects the obligations of BT, which still holds an exceptional position because of its size and its ownership of the majority of the fixed-line network that connects homes and businesses throughout the UK. So, a major subject of the TSR was the way that BT allows access to and charges other operators to deliver their own services to their customers by making use of BT's local access and backhaul networks. Access to these BT networks at reasonable charges is considered very important if the vast array of different telephone and internet service companies are to succeed in offering innovative products and services to customers in a competitive environment.

Q44 If companies go to court on the basis that the EAB have found BT in breach of its undertakings will the EAB ruling have any legal status?
No, a court will not be bound by the EAB's decision. However, a court may take into account an EAB decision that BT is in breach of the Undertakings. But if the alleged breach is disputed it will be for the court to make its own decision on whether there has been a breach.

2. Products

Q45 What safety issues do you take into account before installing cabinets?
All cabinet locations are subject to a risk assessment when they are surveyed before installation. We consider a number of criteria, such as visibility issues when exiting driveways. If an intended location fails to meet these criteria, we look for an alternative location.

Q46 Why are your cabinets painted green?
We order them that way from the manufacturer, for aesthetic reasons. If a council planning team requests another colour, perhaps to match the special character of an area or to better blend in with existing street furniture, we will consider such requests. However, weíll only agree to change the colour of our cabinets in exceptional circumstances.

Q47 Whatís the difference between a greenfield site and a brownfield site, and why it is more cost-effective to deploy Fibre to the Premises on a greenfield site?
A greenfield site has never been built on before, making it far easier and far more cost effective to provide Fibre to the Premises. With a brownfield site, the cost of deployment rises considerably, as we have to dig up the street all the way to your home or office, causing far more disruption in the process. The case for Fibre to the Premises is basically one of economics. We need to provide a cost-effective solution for our customers (communication provider) so they can provide you with one. If itís not cost-effective for us or them it is unlikely that the cost will be attractive for you either.

Q48 What if you can never make a business case for providing Super-fast Fibre Access in rural areas and no government subsidy is forthcoming? Are there any alternatives?
Yes. Weíve developed Broadband Enabling Technology expressly for this eventuality. It could help nearly 1.7 million households like yours to experience broadband speeds of up to 2Mbit/s for the first time. Not earth-shattering, but a likely improvement on where you are now. This technology is already being tested by 1000 people served by 80 Ďruralí telephone exchanges around the country and itís working well. If weíre able to secure external funding for Broadband Enabling Technology, we should be in a position to start roll it out across the countryside.

Q49 Can you give me any idea of when Iíll be able to get superfast broadband?
The best we can do is tell you when we should be making the required access available to our customers Ė the people that provide communications services to residential and business customers in Britain. You can view the rollout programme on an exchange by exchange basis here. From then on, itís down to how soon your communications provider starts to sell super-fast broadband where you live or work. P.S. Donít lose heart if you donít see your exchange on the list now. Weíll be announcing the next batch of exchange and associated network upgrades in the autumn. Yours could well be among them.

Q50 How do you decide which exchange areas get Super-fast Fibre Access?
Working closely with our customers, we consider various criteria. They include population density, likely demand, the layout of our existing network, the cost of deployment and, obviously, the potential return on our investment.

Q51 Are you liable for burglary or damage to private property resulting from the location of a cabinet?
Like any other utility with the right to install apparatus in the street in order to serve the community, we have no legal liability should a cabinet be used to gain illegal access to private property resulting in theft from that property or damage to it. However, we do obviously try to install cabinets in an intelligent manner. And we are continually evaluating improvements to cabinet design that minimise such eventualities.

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