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back to article BT plots massive Openreach outsourcing deal

BT is secretly considering outsourcing the operation of its heavily regulated and unionised network access division Openreach, sources have told The Register. Major outsourcers are currently preparing bids for what would be a multi-billion pound contract. It's understood that EDS and Alcatel-Lucent are among the contenders. …

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Stop

This isn't new

Contractors have been used by Openreach for teh last few years.

When LLU hit them the Exchange Engineers(frames) buckled under the demand for 1000's of peope per exchange to be migrated as soon as the equipment went live. They jsut couldn't do it.

Contractors were brought in to do the bulk of LLU work and to create a stop gap in the shortage as staff retired. No new staff were brought on and at about this time last year BTO started to tell the contractor companies to lay their staff off. There are hardly any if not no, contracting staff left and BTO are already feeling the strain on the workload that this has caused. They cant afford to employ on the current deal their staff now enjoy and will save a huge packet by having the staff pushed out to be contractors. Even the CSE's struggle to cope with the work that is asked of them, everyday jobs are being ditched as the engineers just dont have the time to get all the work in.

When BTO go this way it will truly flop on its belly as the contractors just wont care about the work they do(been there and seen it 1st hand) and faults will go thru the roof, an thus cost them more in downtime and rebates.

BTO are trying to scrimp and save and in this area i think they are taking a very high risk of cutting their nose of to spite their face.

This can only end in tears for customers.

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Black Helicopters

The BT Gravy Train

Phorm 'employ' a former BT Retail CEO, BT 'employ' a former Ofcom regulator, and now Ben Verwayen has moved to Alcatel-Lucent.

Anyone NOT think they'll get the job if Openreach gets put out to pasture, based on the above 'coincidences'?

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Stop

BT Engineers = Technician

Openreach has 25,000 engineers - no it hasn't - it has 1000s of Technicians, many with little training - if anyone wonders why Facebook went to Dublin, it might because an Engineer is an Engineer over there!

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Black Helicopters

Travel Time

If they outsource like they have done in other areas then can you imagine the travel time to each job from India.

Joking aside, the issue isn't around in house or outsource but quality and speed of repair.

The issues apear to be poor quality work (Not by all) and very poor management of that work with quality audits that are not worth the paper they are written on. Every engineer knows how to get around those and regularly do.

For every good engineer BT have working out in thye field there are a dozen poor ones waiting in the wings to screw it all up and suported by a management structure that facilitates it.

If outsourcing brings a better service for consumers then bring it on I say.

Wonder if they will get it past the TGWU? As for the Alcatel Link - LOL even an imbecile could have seen that one coming.

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Anonymous Coward

About time too

Most of the openreach "engineers" I have to deal with on a day to day basis are the epitomy of the cliche of the "I'm alright Jack" unionised jobsworth. However, I don't think this is necessarilly a true indication of the skills and attitudes of the individual staff, it is a symptom of the entire structure of the organisation. This is in itself a massive hangover from the days when it was nationalised. It needs a top down change in attitude.

From what we've seen in the public sector outsourcing is no way to achieve this. Essentially you will replace a group of skilled, experienced staff with inexperienced, underpaid newbies. The existing staff have the skills, the knowledge and the experience, unfortunately they also have an institutionalized bad attitude. Change the attitude, not the staff.

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Anonymous Coward

Network Quality

To be fair, many quality audits do not assess network quality, but rather tidiness of line plant (street cabinets etc). However, many current initiatives to increase quality and service are highly effective - if only all engineers actually followed the quality rules rather than just a few.

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Go

Re Network Quality

The network is only as good as those who administer, maintain and troubleshoot it. BT have QA checks which are useless because they don’t focus on removing poor work. Many engineers know they are virtually untouchable and "About Time Too" post sums it up re attitude change.

Provisions regularly don't jumper in the exchanges yet they com their jobs off as completed. Who checks that and acts on it? No one and if they do they are not being held accountable.

They need someone at the top with balls, someone who will rid them of the union mentality that has blighted them for many a year. Those who want to go under early release let them and bring in people who want to do a good job and who will motivate the few left in BT with more than 5 hours service and who haven’t gone the way of the rest of the Neanderthals!

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Joke

ha ha ha

After decades of "quality management", "quality training" and "quality support" from BT, the logical next step is to sack the lot and give the jobs to someone else. (bet you can't work out which bit of this comment isn't loaded with sarcasm)

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Pirate

@ The BT Gravy Train By dervheid

Or another exec looking for board to join with an inflated salary and gold standard pension. Using their "influence" to push this contract over with them when they jump ship.

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BT Openreach and charges

Would seem BT has started to use Openreach as a way to charge customers regardless of if there is a fault or not. If an engineer cannot find the fault and puts no fault found then the customer is charged anything from £150 to £199 pound. They are about to change things making even SNR issues needing an engineer out, this has always been dealt without an engineer visit this visit will also be chargeable. OFCOM now need to regulate BT Group since 90% of the time they say it is the EU when it isn't. The public are getting scared of calling out the BT engineer due to the charges which now leaves a large number of people using slower speeds than they should have.

BT needs to realise they need to supply the service that is being paid for not say it is EU or line degeneration after years of steady faster speeds and suddenly after BT upgrades an exchange your speeds drop.

Outsourcing doesn't work it didn't for Virgin Media their network went ddown hill fast, customers complained about the instaltions. Bad move BT it would look like Ian Livingston is slowly breaking BT up into little sections making it ripe for a takeover.

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Service?

I suppose we can expect even worse service on the maintenance side now. I used to be a telecom engineer back in the days when "Post Office Telephones" was a government department and I saw privatisation totally wreck everything we`d built up. We quite often used to be able to clear a customer`s fault within hours of them reporting it but now you are lucky to get a call in a couple of days and sometimes (as I recently found out) that appointment doesn`t materialise at all and they deny it was ever made. I`ve moved house twice and on both occasions BT have managed to cock something up, such as cutting my broadband off in the exchange, despite only moving some 600 yards and keeping the same number!

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Outsourced work to be performed by charities?

Save money be shifting work over to additional entities who in turn must make a profit. Something has to give, and of course it's the quality of life for the people doing the actual wok. It's all ok as long as we don't think about it too much. Sort of like making sausages...

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Anonymous Coward

Big mouth on a train

Heard about this last week over at the Hermes Project by virtue of some gobby Ericsson employee spouting about Telefonica being the front-runner on his mobile!!

http://thehermesproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/openreach-to-be-auctioned.html

Also, I'm sure the CWU will be happy about it.......................so they can justify the union subs :-)

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BT employee

To be fair nearly all Openreach engineers are highly skilled, conscientious and try hard on a daily basis to satisfy customers. Trouble is the continuous bullying environment they exist in prevents them from doing this.

This is recognised totally within the engineering communities where staff have to hit stats that prevent them doing their job properly. For instance failure to raise sufficient charges means a failed stat which results in the engineer being disciplined.

Openreach need to direct their attention to changing this stats based culture which is at conflict with giving decent customer service

I notice a lot of comments here are anti BT and justly so and this comes from an engineer with over thirty years experience with the company who has had to watch how greed has ruined what was a decent business to work for.

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N

@BT employee

Its somewhat unfortunate that your organisation is one over populated by shiny arsed bastards, sitting in ivory towers, twiddling Excel spreadsheets with little concept of what is really going on

Ive personally found the field engineers generally pretty good at their jobs.

Ive no doubt that elsewhere in the organisation, there are like minded people, but Ive yet to deal with one and quite frankly, I wouldnt give some of them the steam off my piss.

Its unfortunate, that for those who try & deliver in these mindless statistically driven times and overcome the managements best intent to fuck things up, they get tarred with the same brush.

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Flame

Post Office Telecommunications is alive and well!

BT have been 'outsourcing' the donkey work on new builds for a while now, as in, they throw a load of ducting and stuff off a lorry for the builders to install, with BT turning up much later to make the final connection. 14 years ago, the people who built our house made a right balls-up by putting the wrong type of outside box in the wrong place so having to tack interior-type wires around the outside of the house to the linebox inside.

Not surprisingly, last week the cheapo indoor cable finally rotted and we had to call BTO. After the usual threats of massive callouts if it was 'our fault', the chap who came was quite freindly, and he came very early the next day as promised...

We now have a vintage grey box marked 'POST OFFICE TELECOMMUNICATIONS' and some retro grey wire on our house! Still, it all works.

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Dead Vulture

ha ha ha....

See... i knew this would happen, even tho its a bit presumtious. I just left openreach a month ago, said i wanted out before they did this. delighted! :P Altho, would suck to be one of the engineers left (which btw the majority are good engineers)

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Alert

ha

Ben Verwaayen?

Former CO of Lucent technologies?

Swings and roundabouts.

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Outsourced Government

You have to wonder about the wisdom of Birmingham, Sandwell and Liverpool outsourcing the management of their IT to BT, that's the same BT that's outsourcing its own workforce to someone else.

Anyone for a game of musical chairs, or perhaps pass the parcel, in which we try to cover our own managerial incompetence by passing on our existing staff in order to go and mismanage someone else's.

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