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Chip shortage delays hit Openreach Gfast and ethernet installs

New UK customers of Openreach’s hybrid fibre broadband ISP and specific optical fibre (OSEA 6500 Filter Connect and OSEA Lite) products may face delays in getting related services provisioned, which comes after the operator suffered a shortage of electronic components in its supply chain (e.g. modems).

At this point we’ll assume that most of our readers will already be familiar with the ongoing issues around the global shortage of electronic components, particularly semiconductor chips, as it’s something that we’ve covered before and is often in the news. So far, Openreach has done quite well to manage the impact of this, but problem areas do still exist and that’s true for other UK network operators too.

NOTE: Openreach stopped deploying at scale sometime ago (coverage of c.2.8 million premises), thus the impact of this issue for them will be limited.

As a result of these issues, Openreach recently applied a status of Matters Beyond Our Reasonable Control (MBORC) for provision activities relating to optical services and We should point out that the side of this only relates to installations where the modem is provided by Openreach itself. Some ISPs, such as BT, won’t be impacted by the latter because their bundled SmartHub router includes its own modem.

The MBORC statement was originally issued on 10th October 2021, although we only recently started to notice it after several UK ISPs began to inform their customers about delays to their service provisions (Openreach doesn’t usually publish MBORC notices in public).

Original MBORC Statement:
“Over the past few months, Openreach has been working closely with our key suppliers, in order to reduce the impact of this shortage on delivery performance for Optical Spectrum Extended Access (OSEA) and for Gfast, where modems are provided by Openreach.

However, whilst we have had success with this approach, the scale of the reduction of component supply is now impacting our ability to maintain planned delivery dates, and also to set delivery dates for new orders.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation and look to remove MBORC as soon as we are able.”

Declaring MBORC means, among other things, that Openreach cannot be held to contractual delivery requirements (Service Level Agreements) for these services. According to a related statement from Neos Networks: “Openreach are taking action to reduce any delays, but they are currently running on average 30% behind target in planning, and in certain locations it can be significantly greater than this.”

We have asked Openreach to provide an update on the situation and will report back once we have that. ISPreview

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