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UKWISPA One Touch Switching (OTS) Update

12th January 2023

One Touch Switching (OTS) update produced by Dave Burns, Chairman of UKWISPA:

By way of a reminder, OTS legislation will come into effect on 4th April this year and will be incorporated into the General Conditions for communications providers in the UK. This means that it will be mandatory for all operators to adopt OTS or face potential closure by Ofcom.

In our webinar in December and subsequent survey, it was clear that many members will find it hard to adapt to use OTS by 4th April if at all. In particular, this is because OTS will require operators to respond to requests for Switching Information (such as contract termination costs and any gotchas such as static IP addresses) within 60-seconds of receiving. This could not be achieved manually and so will require you to have automated systems in place that can provide this.

We have been working on several fronts to see if we can make the change less painful and costly for members:

1. We have engaged with the Common Wholesale Platform (CWP), who have already built a portal and other capabilities that should be compatible with the hub being planned by the One Touch Switching Company (TOTSCo), who are set to operate the national service. We plan to run a briefing event online with CWP on 19th January and I will write again soon with details. We expect that working as a community, this may be a very affordable way to access the basic functionality needed by members in a timely fashion.

2. I have written to Dame Melanie Dawes at Ofcom asking them to consider introducing a small and micro operator exemption to their enforcement policy. Other countries that have adopted similar schemes (such as the Republic of Ireland) have such exemptions as I understand it.

3. We have drafted a template letter Download HERE that we encourage you to send to your local constituency MP.

4. We have contacted the Digital Infrastructure Directorate who are responsible for the strategy to connect the 80,000 or so properties in the UK that are not expected to get gigabit broadband under the current national tenders. We are setting out that if operators are forced out of business as a result of this legislation, the number of poorly served premises could increase sharply, which would have a significant cost to the taxpayer to resolve. Hopefully this may add some weight to the argument.

5. TOTSCo are running a consultation until Friday this week seeking views on a change to their SLA which formalises the 60-second response timeframe as a key metric, as suggested by Ofcom recently. We understand that the team at Ofcom have demonstrated very little leniency or flexibility with any of their stipulations to date. Please look at the consultation and respond if you have views on this, as the more input we provide, the more likely it is that we will be heard. https://totsco.org.uk/switching-information-sla/

Thank you for taking the time to read the UKWISPA OTS Update. If you have any queries or feedback regarding any updates within the report, please do not hesitate to get in touch. For additional information please visit the UKWISPA website.

The Team, MS (Distribution) UK Ltd. Report produced by Dave Burns, Chairman of UKWISPA.