TOTSCO - making it work

We (A&A) are trying to make One Touch Switching work, honest.

Given the many posts I have done, and that I am clear how I feel it is a stupid imposition by OFCOM, and badly implemented, you may think I am not trying to make it work. But I am.


I have created a complete proper testing platform, because TOTSCO don't have one. But I have been monitoring, and finding issues that other CPs have. The use of "VOIP" for "NetworkOperator", instead of "A000", fooled me, and I have confirmed the TOTSCO spec is wrong, as is the example in the spec. I asked that question, got an answer (even though they will not update the spec) and have added details and notes on NOTSCO so testers can see the issue and why it is there. I am constantly working, every day, to ensure my test system is right even when that means getting the broken specification clarified.

Helping "buddy CP"

We are working with a CP. We will work with more. We had been told by the boss of the CP that they were ready, and would be happy to test with us. To our (and his) surprise, they are not close. So I have done a lot of hand holding here. We found more errors in the specification as a result. My view is we are 100% ready, and have been for a month. But getting through TOTSCO's insane testing process is painful and broken. And no, TOTSCO are not paying us to hand hold, and test with other CPs?!

Fixing the specification

Every error we have found, we have told TOTSCO, and tried to get them to fix the spec. They think a change freeze is a good move - it is not! We tried. So the issues are documented on NOTSCO test system to help other CPs understand.

Going live

I am not convinced at any of the other testing stages to be honest.

What would I do (ramp up)?

I would have CPs going live, but making clear to customers as part of the order journey that this is not all CPs yet and they can choose not to be part of it. If they say yes, offer choice of CPs that are on-line.

This means real migrations and ports with real CPs, increasing as each CP goes live. The deadline would simply be for when all CPs are live.


A key aspect I have included in our system is babysitting. I personally (as the lead developer) am being notified of each OTS message, so I can review it. A larger CP may need a team to do that.

We also make it optional for customers - we have to - they may not want to cease an existing service at all, so the process has to be optional. But it means any issues also allow a more old school migration or new service instead.

This idea is simple - there will be edge cases - there will be errors - we will have errors - but we can proposed changes and review them and make them live in an agile way. With NOTSCO we can test those edge case errors. Indeed I can add test cases to NOTSCO for others as a result.

We lack contacts to other CPs, this will be fun when live as I will raise with TOTSCO every weird or wrong OTS message we get from another CP and asking them to put us in touch with other CP. What would have been neater would have been to provide all CPs with an email to query OTS issues during deployment. Why is that not a thing?

Ideally we would find all issues during a ramp up, and if that meant changes to TOTSCO specifications, they would be done and notified quickly.

We can make it work!

We can, I am sure, but it is being so badly managed right now (in my honest opinion) it will be a lot more work than it should be.


  1. This entire thing is a solution looking for a problem. What was wrong with the previous switching system?

  2. I think it's a problem looking for a problem..

  3. The "problem", presumably, is that if OFCOM isn't seen to be doing enough pointless busywork, a future government might decide to reduce its budget, or even abolish it altogether.

    The purpose of every bureaucracy is to preserve its own existence at all costs, and increase its budget and headcount wherever possible. Any other functions it happens to perform are incidental.


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