We understand that this is a difficult time for all UK businesses…

To make things a little easier we have compiled our partner updates in this blog.

Talk Talk Business

Further to our update on Friday, we are writing to keep you informed on our service delivery in light of Coronavirus (COVID-19).  As you will be aware this is a fast-moving situation and we will keep you updated if this changes.

As a connectivity provider, TalkTalk is categorised as delivering ‘Critical National Infrastructure’.  For this reason, our operations will continue to be fully functioning in order to service the homes and businesses of Britain.   

As a provider of a critical service it is paramount that we can keep people connected. We have reviewed our network and as we regularly experience peaks in demand we are confident that we have robust measures to monitor network usage and capacity and to withstand any increases in volume so that we can continue to service our 4.2 million homes and thousands of B2B customers up and down the country.

In these unprecedented times we would like to ask for your support in the coming weeks.  If your colleagues can raise requests through our APIs or portals, we would ask that you do so.  This will help our lines remain available to support emergency activity and priority support where it is most needed.  It would also be appreciated if Director of Service Office (DSO) requests and High Level Escalations are prioritised by Partners to focus on Critical National Infrastructure support and vulnerable end users.

In our previous update we advised how Openreach were altering their approach to engineering appointments and the circumstances when appointments would not proceed (excludes EAD). Your support would be appreciated if appointments can be proactively managed and rescheduled where anyone in the premises has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has been asked to self-isolate.  This will save disappointment and inconvenience.  

Please also be aware that a proactive four-week reappointment lead time is being issued if the visit needs to be delayed (although this can be reduced if required where the site is accessible, and isolation no longer applies).

Thanks for your understanding and we will continue to keep you updated.

Vodafone

Our top priorities are the welfare of our employees and maintaining a high level of service and network performance for our customers, businesses and partners.

To ensure that we can do this effectively, and as a precautionary measure, we have asked employees to restrict their travel by working from their usual office and not travel between sites. We have also asked employees to conduct meetings online with external parties, particularly where those employees are located in critical support functions such as in our network operations centre.

Vodafone is well-placed to do this by leveraging its global data network and technology, including video conferencing, internet telephony and cloud and hosting services, to conduct virtual meetings and share information quickly and securely.

In addition, Vodafone technology and our smart working principles mean that working from home is already an option for many of our employees. In light of the current circumstances, we are actively encouraging the use of smart working wherever possible or practical. The increased use of smart working will minimise risk, in particular for those with any underlying health conditions and for employees who live with someone who has health conditions. We would like to assure you that we are in regular contact with all of our suppliers and have clear visibility of any impact on our supply chain. The current status of our supply chain is broadly positive, with all suppliers contacted giving us strong assurances across Network, IT and handset provision over the next few months.

O2

  • Do you have a business continuity plan in place to protect the provision of services in the event of a worsening of the Coronavirus outbreak? 

    As a responsible organisation accredited to ISO 22301 (the international standard for Business Continuity best practice), we have a business continuity plan that allows us to remain effective during any incident including a pandemic. This may include implementing flexible working arrangements for our people, policies for absence due to illness as well as increased cleaning and sanitising activities. 

      
  • Can you provide us a copy of your Business Continuity Plan?

    Our business continuity plans are commercially confidential – however, you can be assured that as a requirement of our ISO 22301 accreditation we are audited several times per year by the BSI, in addition to multiple internal audits, to ensure that our plans are robust, fit for purpose and fully tested.

  • Does O2 monitor or restrict employees travelling to high-risk regions

    We have restricted international travel in line with the recent government recommendation. We are following advice issued by Public Health England and the World Health Organisation surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak and continue to closely monitor the situation.

  • Is there a trained crisis management team that includes on-call staff, and do those team members know what is expected of them?

    We are monitoring this issue closely 24/7 with a highly experienced cross-functional team of Business Continuity and Incident Management professionals. Our business continuity plan is designed to mitigate any risks we face so we can continue to operate and deliver service to our customers

    .  
  • What is the percentage of O2 staff that can work from home?

    Our business continuity plan allows us to remain effective during any incident including a pandemic. This may include implementing flexible working arrangements for our people to ensure we can continue to operate and deliver service to our customers. 

  • What would be the impact on service if your staff were not allowed to enter your premises?

    Our business continuity plan allows us to remain effective during any incident including a pandemic. This may include implementing flexible working arrangements for our people to ensure we can continue to operate and deliver service to our customers.

  • What procedures do you have in place to decontaminate your facilities and including heating, ventilation, air-conditioning systems, electronic equipment and soft materials?

    As a responsible organisation accredited to ISO 22301 (the international standard for Business Continuity best practice), we have a business continuity plan that allows us to remain effective during any incident including a pandemic. This may include increased cleaning and sanitising activities.   

Openreach

**Latest Update effective 31st March 2020**

Click here for update

**Latest Update effective 27th March 2020**

1:  Changes being made to how work will be prioritised.

Openreach will use the following priority principles:

1.   Bluelight services

2.   Critical national infrastructure

3.   Welfare customers

4.   Covid-19 at risk

5.   Customers with no service – repair (total loss of service) and provisioning (new line        where none exist)

6.   Customers with significantly degraded service

7.   Customers with intermittent service

8.   Other repair and provisioning jobs

2: How Openreach will identify and prioritise vulnerable groups and information changes.

Openreach seeks to work with CPs to help identify ‘COVID at risk’ in order to prioritise these orders and faults.   Please note the Openreach welfare process remains in place and below is a supplementary process to this.

Criteria:

1.   The customer meets the Public Health England criteria for ‘Covid at Risk’.  Eg. Pregnant/Over 70/ under 70 with an underlying medical condition.

2.   The customer has no working telephony service.

3.   The household does not have access to a mobile.

Please confirm these criteria apply where you are raising an urgent expedited request.

If criteria 1, 2 and 3 are met you should ask the customer whether anyone in the household is displaying symptoms. 

If the answer is “Yes” add COVIDATRISKS to the Appointment Health and Safety Notes.

Add in notes: People onsite are symptomatic and are isolating due to COVID.

Or provide this information within the ticket when raising faults.

If the answer is “No” add COVIDATRISKSNS to the Appointment Health and Safety Notes.

Add in notes: There is no one onsite displaying any symptoms and or isolating due to COVID. There is currently no expected risk to engineers.

Again provide this information within the ticket when raising faults.

Where a household member is displaying symptoms Openreach will try to provide service up to the property. When safe to do so they will complete the work in the home (this could be on the day if safe or a mutually agreed later date). If they are unable to provide service on the day, we will be advised via the KCI messaging.

3: Changes to other engineering questions.

Where an Openreach engineer is attending a property they will continue to ask if anyone:

1.   Has anyone in the premises been diagnosed with COVID-19, has been asked to self-isolate, or has been travelling to a coronavirus high-risk area or country in the last 14 days?

2.   Is anyone in the premises suffering from flu-like symptoms?

If the answer to either of those questions is yes, the engineer will not enter the premises and the job will be reappointed for four weeks later.

If the answer to both questions is no the engineer will enter the premises taking additional precautions (such as asking the end customer to vacate to another room)

Time in the premises will be limited to providing service to the Network Terminating Equipment (NTE) – additional work such as removing bridge taps, NTE shifts, internal wiring/additional cabling, etc. will not be done.

4: Prioritisation of critical national infrastructure.

Critical national infrastructure orders will be prioritised in the following ways:

1.   Emergency COVID-19 Response

2.   Enhanced DSO (+) for CNI

3.   BAU DSO Orders

4.   BAU Orders

For emergency CNI responses ring fenced support will be available, along with CNI Programme Management and order will be ‘hand held’ through. These cases should still be logged via the normal route in addition via email at HLE@talktalkbusiness.co.uk inbox.

We have compiled a further Q&A document that you can find below.

**Latest Update effective 24th March 2020**

Openreach Communication Update

Declaration of Matter Beyond Our Reasonable Control (MBORC) on ALL products, effective 24th March 2020 23:59

Openreach provide much of the cabling infrastructure in the UK and engineering resource, the declaration of MBORC  is a contractual provision contained in all Openreach contracts which releases Openreach from liability under the relevant product terms and conditions in certain circumstances. The relief removes Openreach from any contractual SLAs and SLGs. The declaration affects all products taken directly from Openreach and will also affect those providers who rely on Openreach engineering to deliver their services.

The products affected include (and is not restricted to) the list below:

  • GEA (FTTC (including Gfast), FTTP (including Fibre-on-Demand), GEA Cablelink / SOGEA / SOGfast
  • LLU MPF and SMPF (ADSL)
  • WLR (PSTN, ISDN2, ISDN30)
  • Ethernet: EAD, EBD, Cablelink, Street Access, CCTV access, Broadcast Access, WES/WEES/BES (repair only), TDM Access Service
  • New Sites

Openreach will now prioritise only the essential work and absolutely minimise work that requires their engineers to enter end customer premises. 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 – Openreach will look to deal with these 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 new appointed provision with books moved out to 1st June 2020
  • Openreach will attempt to complete appointed in-flight 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 – Openreach 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
  • Openreach will ask CPs to help them identify Critical Network Infrastructure and vulnerable end customer tasks in order to prioritise these

**Update effective 23rd March 2020**

Update on our planning for the Coronavirus outbreak


Last night (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 that means for Openreach
What 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 Openreach roles have been categorised as ‘key worker’ status by the Government. We also want to ensure the safety of our people and the general public. Our approach, based on the new Government advice, is as follows:

We will now prioritise only the essential work and absolutely minimise work that requires our engineers to enter end customer premises.

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 – and we will look to deal with these 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)

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.
With immediate effect:
• Appointment books will be closed for new 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
Our priority is to ensure that end customers remain connected at this time. We will be asking our CPs to work with their end customers to understand alternative means of connectivity and to limit the movements of end customers between networks, due to the likelihood of an inhome
visit being required.

It is our expectation that we will shortly announce national MBORC. This will be subject to separate communications that will be provided later today. We will be sharing more detail as it is available, and we will be reaching out to the operational teams to work this through.

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