2005 is heating up to be a competitive year for Broadband services in the UK. The Register has some details on Wanadoo who look set to emerge into the LLU arena. For a couple of years now, Wanadoo has made increasing amounts of noise in the LLU area, but it seems that they have placed the first orders for LLU. These orders are likely to be requests for BT to unbundle specific exchanges.
Wanadoo at present are staying tight lipped about which exchanges are to be unbundled, though it seems we are talking major urban areas. It seems likely that some parts of the UK are going to have three or four LLU providers by the end of 2005, and lots of choice.
Wanadoos strategy is likely to revolve around their LiveBox unit which is used in France, and sold in the UK. The LiveBox is intended to be the centre piece of a digital home, offering VoIP and Video on Demand eventually. This strategy may mean we see NTL and Wanadoo going head to head for customers during 2005.
Hopefully we will see the ADSL2+ standard ratified for non-trial deployment on the UK local loop during 2005. Whether this happens is down to Ofcom and the various interested parties. If approval is given it will signal a wave of faster than 8Mbps DSL products appearing. BT Wholesale meanwhile has its three Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) trial areas running, which are offering an incremental improvement of 2Mbps downstream and 0.5Mbps upstream Internet access. The advantage of FTTP over the ever faster ADSL technologies, is that increasing the speeds once fibre is in place should be relatively easy. DSLAM manufacturers are saying that for Video On Demand services with good picture quality you really need around 20Mbps of bandwidth.
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