The UK’s communications regulator OFCOM regulated in 2005 that BT must provide “Equivalence” to all other companies that wanted to offer BT Fixed Line Services to customers when it provided these services in a wholesale format. At that time it was felt that BT retail had an unfair advantage over the Independent sector offering BT services as BT Retail had access to the wholesale network as well, including orders being placed on behalf of customer who did not want to deal with BT Retail and there were obvious consequences to this! BTin response to this formed Openreach a new wholesale division to provide a ‘level playing field’ to independent Telecoms Providers like Express Telephony enabling them to trade BT’s business services to customers competitivly as BT Retail had no access to Openreach databases ensuring “Equivelence” would be met.
To connect to Openreach to place and manage orders, a standard called Wholesale Line Rental 3 (WLR3) was devised to enable this to happen.
When we order services from Openreach that you have requested us to supply and bill to you under Express Telephony we use a WLR3 online portal to do so. this portal allows us to access BT’ssystems and this gave us direct access to the engineers’ calendars’ bypassing the need to speak to anyone about the order and giving us control of the process more or less. The time to install on average is now 4 hours quicker than it used to be when the old WLR2 ordering system was in use and orders can be placed 24 hours a day, seven days a week as well as management of customers lines, faults and other services that may need to be dealt with on a day to day basis.
Openreach reports that far fewer orders are rejected using the newer system and the speed faults are repaired inhas improved and the number of repeat faults has been reduced by up to 50% as a result of automation of the fault management process.
Not all Independent Operators are using WLR3 Portals yet and have continued to use the earlier WLR2 version which is due to be withdrawn from service in June of this year. This will not affect any of your existing services until you come to move or change them in any way at which point this could make it difficult for your existing supplier to place orders if they are not using a WLR3 Portal to manage your services.
Openreach’s WLR3 portal is revolutionising the way we place and manage your orders for BT Wholesale Fixed Line Services, Broadband, and other services and is evolving all the time.