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Openreach Bring Enhanced Care Levels to G.fast and SOGEA Lines

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 (7:48 am) - Score 3,672
gfast cabinet internals

Openreach (BT) has announced that the option of faster service repairs (Service Maintenance Level 3 and 4), albeit at extra cost, will be added to their ultrafast-capable hybrid fibre G.fast and standalone SOGEA (SOGfast) broadband lines for UK ISPs from 21st October 2020.

Most consumer broadband packages on Openreach’s network tend to come with Service Maintenance Level (SML) 1 or 2 – by default or as chosen via an ISP – and this generally reflects how long the network access provider will take to tackle a faulty line. In simple terms, SML2 means faster repairs, usually within one day, while SML1 could take a day longer.

Naturally the higher the level, the quicker the repair and thus the greater the cost. Providers can also pay extra for a one-off Expedite Repair in order to raise the SML and get the problem resolved more quickly. In the past some ISPs would often just pick the cheapest option (SML1) to save money, although last year’s move by Ofcom to introduce Automatic Compensation may have changed that calculation (quicker repairs may be desirable).

Until now ultrafast G.fast and superfast SOGEA (FTTC) broadband lines haven’t had access to the top SML 3 and 4 levels, but in a new briefing Openreach has confirmed that they will be introduced as options from 21st October. Naturally, ISPs will pay extra if they want these: SML 3 attracts an annual rental of £37.20 on G.fast and £42.24 on SOGEA/SOGfast, while SML4 is £48 on G.fast and £53.04 on SOGEA/SOGfast.

Openreach Care Levels

Level 1
Clear by 23.59 day after next, Monday to Friday, excluding Public and Bank Holidays. For example, report Tuesday, clear Thursday.

Level 2
Clear by 23.59 next day, Monday to Saturday, excluding Public and Bank Holidays. For example, report Tuesday, clear Wednesday.

Level 3
Report 13.00, clear by 23.59 same day. Report after 13.00 clear by 12.59 next day, seven days a week, including Public and Bank Holiday.

Level 4
Clear within 6 hours, any time of day, any day of the year.

The reality is of course that taking a higher level doesn’t guarantee that the problem itself will be fixed within the stated time, which is one reason why ISPs often prefer to treat SML3 and 4 as one-off enhancements or only deploy them on more expensive business packages. The briefing reminds us that G.fast line rental usually includes SML2, whereas SOGEA and SOGfast line rentals include SML1.

One catch with this announcement is that Openreach will soon raise the price on SML4 for some services, which for example will see it go from £53.04 on SOGEA/SOGfast to £65.04 on 1st January 2021 (here).

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar keith brawn says:

    @ openreach – please removed all g.fast pods. no ones don’t want useless and crappy g.fast. Bring FTTP instead.

    1. Avatar Grazza says:

      What a well thought out reply. Well done.

    2. Avatar CarlT says:

      How’re you doing, Max?

  2. Avatar Andrew Campling says:

    That’s not much of a premium for significantly better care levels. I’m surprised that more ISPs don’t offer it as an optional value-added service to their customers.

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