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Dear Customer,

We are prioritising customer orders and deliveries following the Openreach announcements regarding changes to their services. Whilst not all our services are dependent on Openreach, many are and at the same time the wider telecoms industry have introduced similar measures to safeguard staff, customers and the public. We’re continuing to work with our supply chain to deliver services critical to tackling COVID-19 as a priority.

As the situation continues to evolve, we will keep you informed on how this may impact your current and future orders and deliveries.

This update includes:

  1. How SSE Enterprise Telecoms and Openreach services will be prioritised
  2. What industries qualify as Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and how priority orders need to be highlighted
  3. Changes to engineering practices

How SSE Enterprise Telecoms and Openreach services will be prioritised

Openreach are now using the following prioritisation principles (with 1 being highest priority):

  1. Blue Light 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 exists)
  6. Customers with significantly degraded service
  7. Customers with intermittent service
  8. Other repair and existing / new provisioning jobs

In line with Government guidelines and the Openreach response, SSE Enterprise Telecoms have implemented a similar prioritisation:

  1. Blue Light services
  2. Critical National Infrastructure
  3. Any other loss of service
  4. Degradation of service

What industries qualify as CNI and how priority orders need to be highlighted

SSE Enterprise Telecoms joined other key Communications Providers on an industry planning call with Openreach on Monday 30th March where further principles around prioritisation of CNI requirements were discussed and agreed. We will continue to communicate our industry’s position on this accordingly. However, for now we ask that you, our customers, support our delivery teams by declaring orders and/or faults which may be deemed CNI as early as possible. For clarity, industries currently considered eligible for consideration as CNI are:

 Health
 Public Safety
 Food
 Defence and security
 Transport
 Communications
 Utilities
 Space
 Government
 Banking
 Manufacturing (if related to CNI in current COVID-19 – NHS)

At SSE Enterprise Telecoms we have created a rapid response team to handle any P1 Blue Light services/orders. If you require fast delivery for emergency services, please highlight this to your Account Director and PMManagement@SSE.com stating ‘COVID-19 P1’ in the subject of the email. Similarly, when raising any faults with us relating to P1 services please state ‘COVID-19 P1’ in the email subject and send to NOC@sse.com so we can prioritise your fault accordingly.

Changes to engineering practices

Openreach engineers are no longer entering customer premises unless they are identified as P1 Blue Light, P2 CNI or those that have an approved DSO (Directors Services Office) business case associated with the order. They will attempt to deliver services and fix faults working externally, however this limits our ability to deliver services dependent upon Openreach tails. We will notify you when this situation changes, along with any further details in relation to the nationwide MBORC (Matters Beyond Our Reasonable Control) notice issued last week by Openreach.

Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our staff, customers and the general public and as such we have similar engineering restrictions in place. Additional levels of PPE have been issued to our field workforce delivering P1 & P2 services, we are working hard to continue to deliver critical services vital to assisting the COVID-19 response.

When attending a customer site deemed CNI, Openreach engineers will ask:

  1. Has anyone in the premises been diagnosed with COVID-19, been asked to self-isolate, or has travelled 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) in order to carry out their work.

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.

SSE Enterprise Telecoms are continuing to deliver Blue Light and CNI on-net services where data centre access allows and where our engineers only enter buildings within our own infrastructure. We are also continuing to work in the field on P1 and P2 services where the ability to practice social distancing allows.

To help you during these uncertain times we’ve added some FAQs below. In the meantime, if you have any additional queries you would like to discuss please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Regards

Colin Sempill

CEO

FAQs

Q. Can I still place orders with SSE Enterprise Telecoms?

Yes, we are very much still open for business and will deliver on-net services where no site access is required as usual. Where site access is required, assessments will be made as to whether the order is deemed Blue Light or CNI. If this is the case, arrangements for safe site access will be made. If this is not the case then we will continue to plan, design and deliver the order up to the point of physical installation thus enabling a fast delivery of service once restrictions on movement and building entry are lifted. When this happens, we will prioritise orders as they have been submitted to us.

Q. Do standard lead times still apply?

We will endeavour to deliver products and services safely, quickly and efficiently. However, should your order be dependent upon an Openreach tail, either directly or through another provider, delays will apply unless the job is deemed Blue Light or CNI. If this is the case then lead times will be advised– as things stand, MBORC declared nationally last week removes Openreach’s obligations to standard delivery times.

Q. What will happen to non-CNI orders?

Until further notice, Openreach will only enter premises to deliver circuits categorised as Blue Light or CNI. All other orders will be planned and delivered up to the point where an engineer is required, thus enabling a speedy delivery once restrictions are lifted.

SSE Enterprise Telecoms will design, plan and deliver services on the aforementioned priority basis. Our engineers will continue to work in the field on Blue Light and CNI orders. All other orders not requiring physical engineering attendance will be delivered in full. Where site visits are required to complete the service, we will design and deliver services as close to completion as possible enabling a swift completion once restrictions are lifted.

Q. How long are these restrictions in place for?

As it stands, Openreach are not booking physical jobs on non-critical orders until June, however this date will be under constant review and we will keep you updated as the national response unfolds.

Should you have any questions or queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing enquiries@ssetelecoms.co.uk

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