COVID-19 - Partner Update 4, 9th April


As it may be expected in these unprecedented circumstances, a number of our upstream network operators have issued notifications around service availability and other constraints. Please click on the links in the Contents table to navigate to each update.






Openreach has announced Matters Beyond Our Reasonable Control (MBORC) on all products, effective from Wednesday 25th March 2020.

This contractually releases them from liabilities under their product terms and conditions, such as SLAs. This affects all of Openreach’s products, as well as their engineering services. Affected products include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • GEA FTTC (including Gfast), FTTP (including Fibre-on-Demand), GEA Cablelink/ SOGEA/ SOGfast
  • Ethernet: EAD, EBD, Cablelink, Street Access CCTV Access, Broadcast Access, WES/WEES/BES (repair only), TDM Access Service
  • New Sites
  • Number Porting

Openreach will now only prioritise essential work, while minimising work that requires engineers to enter end customer premises.


Provisioning carried out by Service Delivery, and Fibre and Network Delivery will be limited to:

  • Self-install activities (i.e. where there is no engineering visit to the end customer premises)
  • Service to vulnerable end customers (in-home and carriepord out safely, only where essential)
  • Those end customers who have no other form of broadband or telephony
  • On-premises work for critical national infrastructure customers (NHS, pharmacies, utilities, emergency services, retail and wholesale food distribution outlets, financial services businesses and other categories defined by the Government

Openreach – identifying and prioritising ‘at risk’ customers

Openreach have introduced a process which helps to identify and prioritise customers who need help the most.

The ‘Hazard’ field is used to identify customers as ‘at risk’ using ‘COVIDATRISKNS’ or ‘COVIDATRISKS’, depending on if the customer is or is not symptomatic. This allows for work for these customers to be prioritised on the day.

At risk is defined as per government guidelines.


Appointment books will be closed for new appointed provision, with books moved out to 1st June 2020.

  • Openreach will attempt to complete appointed in-flight orders outside of the premises
  • Non-appointed orders will continue to go ahead, where no visit is required to go to the premises (transfers, upgrades to Fibre to the Cabinet)
  • Repair books will remain open at this time – Openreach are reviewing non-urgent repair
  • When engineers are required to enter customer premises – there are restrictions in place. Engineers will ask a series of key questions and will take additional precautions when entering, so long as the people inside the premises are not symptomatic.  
  • Openreach will ask CPs to help them identify Critical Network Infrastructure and vulnerable end customer tasks in order to prioritise these

Order and fault updates

Openreach have been forced to restrict many of their channels of non-critical communication. Updates are currently only accessible via specific Fault and Order Trackers online.

We will continue to maintain the latest notes on our portals to the best of our ability, prioritising faults at this current time.

Number Porting

The temporary suspension of porting services at Openreach and IPEX has now lifted, backlogs are clear and support has returned to business as usual.

Orders should be placed as normal, we advise additional care as other carrier range holders may respond to restoration requests slower than normal.

We’ll keep you informed.


We have recently seen an increased demand for SIM cards, given the uplift in home working. At present, we have good stocks of both O2 and Vodafone SIMs, but we are monitoring the situation closely.  We need to ask Partners to utilise their existing SIM stocks and only order new SIMs where absolutely necessary to fulfil customer orders.

O2 Migration orders

O2 have reported that they are experiencing issues with migrations and have notified service providers that it isn’t possible to accept any new O2 migration orders at this time.

We’re working closely with the network and will be back in touch to let you know once the situation improves.

If you have an open migration order with us, we’ll contact you shortly with an update on what this means for your order.

Note we will accept new and porting connection orders as usual, but these continue to be delayed by the network.


We are receiving notifications from some of our equipment suppliers and also Royal Mail about potential delays to delivery. This will impact on 9’s ability to deliver hardware, such as routers and PSUs, as well as mobile SIMs, within the usual timescales. Short notice and next day delivery cannot be guaranteed.

In order to support customers under the current circumstances, we would ask that you try to ensure adequate stocks of equipment and SIM cards. Try to use standard order types wherever possible.

We are here to help

Whatever additional hurdles we all may face in the in the weeks to come, 9 Group’s support teams are fully in place to assist in these exceptional circumstances. We’ll do our best to help you through this difficult time.

Stay safe and thank you for your continued support.
Adam Cathcart
Managing Director