Openreach issues new ‘whereabouts’ compliance deadline

Altnets have been given until April 1 to provide alternative approaches to ‘whereabouts’ compliance.

Whereabouts is the process where companies register with Openreach whenever they access its network.

In the event of any damage caused to its infrastructure, failure to inform Openreach where they access it during network construction may result in an inability to determine where and when it happened and whose responsibility it was. 

The previous deadline for compliance was February 1. If providers fail to comply by the new deadline, it is understood that Openreach will take a hard line on them. Openreach will consider non-compliance as a contractual breach and offenders may face a sanction.

Openreach has several measures at its disposal, including asking a company for evidence of a corrective action/improvement plan, and for evidence that action has taken place. It can also withhold payment for companies on our network when there’s no whereabouts compliance or suspend their operations on its network if they fail to take action. That’s a situation Openreach would rather avoid, if possible.

Currently, 169 network operators use Openreach’s infrastructure, using more than 40 per cent of its poles and 50 per cent of its underground ducts. To date, they have connected more than 600,000 consumers and businesses via its infrastructure.

Openreach and the altnets discussed the matter last week at a PIA Product & Commercial Group meeting, where the new deadline was agreed.

Katie Milligan, chief commercial officer at Openreach, said, “The safety of our people, partners and anyone who comes into contact with the Openreach network is always our number one priority. We’re continuing to work closely with the industry and Ofcom to make sure that any work happening on our network is not only recorded properly, but completed safely and securely.”

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