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The Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA) has called for more data sharing between Openreach and broadband providers in order to speed up network fault repair times.

According to the OTA, identifying and repairing network faults has often been a time-consuming and expensive process, which often requires multiple visits by engineers.

The body also pointed out that if a fault is difficult to identify, the options available to a communications provider are limited.

For instance, it said some will report problems even where none can be found (CDTA - conscious decision to appointment), while some will raise a special fault investigation request.

"CDTA is a blunt instrument for broadband as no information is passed to Openreach to help identify the problem, so the Openreach engineer tests the line and inevitably gets the same result as the communications provider - no fault found," the OTA said.

As a result, the body believes a new approach is needed in order to identify the nature of network faults and give better information in engineers.

In a statement, the OTA said this means telecoms firms and Openreach should exchange and share relevant data.

This information could then be processed to provide a "view of speed and stability that can be consumed by the targeted engineer, which should demonstrate the customer reported issue".

"The idea is that this collaborative approach should both reduce the number of speculative visits that often results in no improvement, and better inform an engineer where a difference can be made," the OTA said.

The OTA went on to state that while it hopes a collaborative approach will lead to a more effective engineer repair process, a number of "tough challenges" still exist.

For example, it said minimum standards regarding the exchange of data need to be agreed, while a "robust exchange mechanism" needs to be set up.

"In order to allow all this to happen, better information needs to determined at the first point of contact with the customer by communications providers," the OTA stated.

The body added that while this will involve "a significant amount of work", it should result in a big improvement in finding broadband issues that "cannot be readily found through existing test methods".

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