As Openreach are part of our Critical National Infrastructure their Staff are classified as Key workers and are permitted to continue to enter customer premises to carry out essential repair work. However for copper based services (ADSL and FTTC) engineers may only enter premises where there is a total loss of service. For all other types of service, Openreach will continue fault resolution as before, adhering to social distancing and hygiene rules as required.
There are also some changes to the way Openreach will provision some types of order:
FTTP, GFast and SOGfast orders
Any orders requiring appointments will have those appointments pushed out until 1st March 2021. Openreach will provide a path to provision these products for consumer customers, with either no existing service or an existing service under 30mbps in order to prioritise home-schooling and home working requirements. Orders not requiring appointments will be unaffected.
Delivery will continue where it is safely possible to do so. Where no safe building access is possible, work to the curtilage of the building will be completed and work will be finalised when it is safe to do so.
We will continue to keep you updated as anything changes
Openreach copper services in an ‘Amber Alert’ status
As a result Openreach have announced some amendments to their provision and support for copper based services.
For Clarity this includes Broadband, EFM and FTTC services where the technology delivered to the premises is copper – Fibre based services such as ethernet are not affected by this
The key effect of the amber alert will be:
Openreach will not enter the premises for a fault other than where the service is completely non-functioning.
2 New Service
New provision will continue as normal (subject to social distancing and hygiene compliance) but where an internal shift of NTE (Network Termination Equipment) is required this will not take place until the current lockdown phase is lifted at the earliest.
We will continue to keep you updated as anything changes
Both FluidOne and our suppliers anticipate that we will continue to provide a business as usual provisioning and support process throughout the additional restrictions.
Carrier engineers are already conforming to safe working practices on customer sites regarding hygiene, masks, and adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Because offices may be closed from Thursday 5th November, we would like to remind you to ensure an on-site presence is available for any installation or on-site repair work as necessary.
This may change as the situation progresses over the next month and we will ensure you are updated as soon as we are aware of any concerns.
Openreach has instructed us, that where it is safe to do so, they will begin to attempt to visit sites to install non-critical orders from today.
Openreach have given us a set of criteria needed, as outlined below, and will need the end customer to confirm the following details to ensure any visit can take place successfully:
If Openreach indicates they are able to visit the site for this order, we will be in touch with your provisioning teams to arrange the access.
Please note these guidelines are for a short duration provision visit only, where the job is considered to be low risk and when provision cannot be carried out externally, which remains our first preference, but will enable us to better serve your customers.
Following the announcement by the Prime Minister that the United Kingdom is entering a period of lockdown I feel it is important to update you about the impact this could have on the delivery of your new services and support.
Openreach, the main supplier of Ethernet and Broadband products in the UK have issued a statement today that will significantly impact their ability to provide physical on-site support for most of our customers due to a key in change in process for their on-site engineers.
The only exceptions to these new processes are sites of critical importance to the continued survival of the community as a whole. Specifically, these are NHS sites, Pharmacies, Utilities, The Emergency Services, The food supply chain and Financial Services. There are also exceptions made for vulnerable consumers and consumers with no existing access to internet.
For all other sites Openreach Engineers will not enter any premises to complete any on-site installations. For installations that fall into the exceptions group work will be permitted only after Openreach have assessed how critical the site is to the survival of the community as a whole.
Where no physical site presence is required service will continue in the normal fashion subject to a national ‘MBORC’ statement (Matters Beyond our reasonable Control). This means that for as long as the statement remains in force Openreach can offer no guarantee of timescale for either new installations or fault repair for all of their products.
The Openreach statement does say that fault repair will continue as usual with safe working practices around distancing but we can expect that where a site is not critical as described above repair is unlikely to take place within the usual timescales.
Virgin have issued a statement reflecting the same approach as Openreach. We expect our other suppliers to follow the same guidelines shortly.
This will mean that until the 1st June we believe it is unlikely that current outstanding orders will be appointed and delivered for Ethernet, FTTC, FTTP and Broadband products other than for the exceptions listed above for any of our customers.
This does not affect the provision of Mobile Phones, Mobile Connect Data Service, Hosted Telephony or SIP which are still available within the usual timescales.
With new updates every day the situation remains very changeable and we will continue to update you as and when the situation changes or is further clarified. If you have any questions or concerns regarding either orders in progress or our continued support please contact your account manager in the first instance.
Russell Horton, CEO
Following the recent guidance published by the UK Government on 16th March, and in line with the Business Continuity preparations outlined in our recent statement, all FluidOne staff from both our Blackfriars and Hemel Hempstead offices will now be operating remotely. This is active from today, 17th March, and will continue until further notice.
We do not anticipate any significant impact to our business operations as a result of the change, besides only the absence of physical meeting space which will now be replaced by our conference call facilities. If you are expecting to attend our offices for a meeting or other event at any time following this announcement, please expect this to now be rearranged by our staff to take place as a conference call or agreed alternative.
If you have any questions relating to your services, or FluidOne’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 outbreak, please do not hesitate to contact your FluidOne account manager who will respond or redirect your query accordingly.
With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continuing to develop in the UK, FluidOne Ltd are closely monitoring the information provided by the UK Government and World Health Organisation (WHO), and have put in motion our ISO 22301 certified Business Continuity plan to ensure any impact to services is appropriately minimised, or mitigated entirely.
FluidOne’s Crisis Management Team (CMT) have been assembled to make key preventive and reactive decisions based on the information made available, with these considerations categorised into the following sections:
All staff are being actively encouraged to adhere to best practice guidelines for minimising the transmission of infectious diseases in the workplace, with guidance including but not limited to:
Alcohol hand sanitizer has also been made available to all staff and visitors at entrances and communal areas, with personal hygiene guidance clearly displayed throughout all office locations.
Service Continuity & Supply Chain
As a business entity FluidOne are entirely location independent, with all staff capable of working from home with immediate notice. Core business functions are also not reliant on a physical location or the ability to travel. Those staff who do not regularly work from home are currently undertaking testing days at home to ensure readiness.
Services are, however, reliant on our supply chain and their respective continuity practices. Due to this reliance, and in addition to standard supplier management procedures, we have obtained up to date confirmation from our key suppliers that suitable measures are in place for a potential COVID-19 outbreak and the risks posed to service availability.
Datacentre locations housing our core network and colocation services have all confirmed direct access and/or remote hands capability will be maintained throughout any quarantine, disinfection or restricted travel scenario. In addition, faulty hardware replacement services are in an assured state from our suppliers, however these could be impacted in a Force Majeure scenario. Where possible we are deploying spare hardware to key datacentre locations to attempt to mitigate this risk.
The provisioning of any service-related hardware is also subject to business continuity plans. However, due to manufacturing shutdown in China, and following discussions with key hardware suppliers, we believe there will be some disruption to global supply chains over the summer and autumn periods. We are stockpiling equipment so far as we can, but customers should be mindful of this risk.
Ongoing Crisis Management
FluidOne’s CMT are closely monitoring the situation and reviewing guidance issued by the aforementioned sources, with regular meetings scheduled to continually assess the risk level and ensure appropriate measures are in place to minimise the potential impact to our services.
Whilst the situation can be considered relatively unpredictable at this stage, FluidOne has full confidence in the preparedness of our supply chain and the maturity of our Business Continuity Management System, which has undergone regular testing, development and assessment since first achieving ISO certified status in 2014.
If you have any specific questions relating to your services received from FluidOne, and how the Coronavirus outbreak could affect them, please contact your FluidOne account manager who will respond or redirect your query accordingly. Equally, if you need advice on your own business continuity plans, including how to gear up for remote working, then please get in touch and we will engage the appropriate staff to discuss with you.