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Ben Verwaayen warns we may see only 600 exchanges unbundled
Tuesday 25 January 2005 10:28:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Many may see anything that the BT CEO Ben Verwaayen says as been tainted and always attempting to sway the regulations in BTs favour, but in an article published by The Sunday Times there is certainly plenty of food for thought.

The BT CEO warns that due to the inherent costs in any LLU roll-out, we may see only the top 600 or so exchanges actually getting any LLU services. These 600 exchanges cover around 40% of the population, the remaining 4,900 exchanges covering the rest. Even if one ignores the costs BT charge for space in an exchange etc, the costs for a large LLU roll-out are still pretty high, hence why it has taken some time to start in the UK. A big issue is that since so few exchanges cover so many people, we are going to see all the big players targeting these exchanges, whereas the smaller market towns of the UK are probably going to see none.

One solution suggested is a new version of wholesale broadband, which would be sold to communities outside the scope of LLU. Alas the news item is scarce of detail, so we cannot really see what this means.

Ofcom is marching on with its year long review of the telecoms industry in the UK, lets hope that the results do not just focus on ensuring BTs competitors have a market to exist in, but also that Ofcom will look at the overall UK picture for consumers of broadband.


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