HomeChoice has finally launched its LLU (local loop unbundled) based services in the North West London area. This new service is an improvement on their previous Video On Demand service provided via a 2.3Mbps Datastream connection. Using LLU based ADSL services they are now connecting customers at around 3.5Mbps to 6Mbps.
Details of the new service can be found on the HUG forum here, which is a forum run by a number of HomeChoice users. The service will make use of the extra bandwidth by allowing the Internet access to run at up-to 1Mbps with an upstream of 288kbps. The TV services will use around 1.8Mbps for the Video On Demand services and 2.3Mbps for the broadcast based channels. This comes at a price point of £35/month, which is in the middle of the current price range for a simple 1Mbps ADSL service and currently they are running a £1 installation introductory offer.
The TV package consists of over 40 channels, including BBC1-BBC4, E4, Eurosport, Discovery Channel, CNN, BBC News 24, itv1, itv2 and more. This package should make it attractive to people who are perhaps looking at the Freeview digital service, because they cannot get a cable TV service from NTL/Telewest and perhaps do not want the full Sky packages. The Internet package has been beefed up also, with 12 email addresses and 100MB of webspace.
The service is currently available in 12 exchange areas, and will expand to more London exchanges in the future, a coverage map is available here. One advantage of the density of exchanges in most of London is that most people will be close enough to their exchange receive the service. Since it is an LLU service, HomeChoice are not bound by the limits that BT use for their own 2Mbps services which are generally viewed to be conservative, but obviously limits do exist since lines must stay inside the ANFP (Access Network Frequency Plan).
This package is a nice breath of fresh air for the UK broadband market, and while it is just London based at this time, it shows what can be done. With the LLU option, HomeChoice have plenty of scope for future product enhancements.
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