BT has faced criticism in the part over the price of its Local Loop Unbundled (LLU) products from competitors. In a move that may pre-empt a shortly to be released Ofcom review BT has today published new pricing for LLU options. The full BT press release can be read here.
Local Loop Unbundling is the process whereby a provider can rent space inside a BT exchange and install their own DSLAM's and provide xDSL services, without the product range restrictions that the existing Datastream and IPstream products impose. One example is the 6Mbps ADSL product Bulldog sell in the central London area, another is the Video On Demand product launched by HomeChoice in North West London this year.
The line rental for an LLU line, where it is shared between a DSL provider and a BT voice service is due to drop from £4.42 per month to £2.26 on 1st June 2004, and the connection fee from £117 to £83.33. Their are also price reductions of around 15% where the line is fully unbundled, i.e. no BT voice service. Interestingly BT is indicating that further price cuts will happen once the volume of LLU operations increases.
There is also news of some jiggling with the BT Datastream product pricing to keep the margins between it and BT IPstream products acceptable to the Teleco's that provide ADSL services using BT Datastream. The detail on this is expected at the end of May 2004, and is caused by the price changes that the new BT IPstream capacity based charging model will produce. Also it appears that a new Carrier Pre-Selection (CPS) wholesale product for providers is on the way as well.
Whether today's price cuts in the LLU arena are enough to kick start the LLU process remains to be seen. Video Networks via its HomeChoice brand in its 1st phase of LLU roll-out should have 75 unbundled exchanges in the London area. The next phase in the fourth quarter of 2004, should mean up-to 140 exchanges serving around 2.3 million homes will be unbundled. More facts and figures on Video On Demand at Point Topic.
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