Cable & Wireless has published details of its plans for its Next Generation Network (NGN), the press release can be read here.
Of immediate interest to the broadband community is the news that the Bulldog @ctive (LLU) services are now available on 320 exchanges (15th April 2005), with 400 exchanges expected by May 2005. This is apparently seven months ahead of their original timetable. This will give Bulldog coverage of around 30% of UK households, and C&W are looking into potentially expanding their LLU footprint more.
C&W and Bulldog appear keen to emphasis that plans are in development for higher speed services. This would seem to be in response to stream of announcements by service providers relating to the BT Wholesale rate adaptive up to 8Mbps trials. Certainly if the LLU providers are not offering something either a lot cheaper or faster than BT Wholesale products or unique in some other way by the end of 2005, much of their consumer appeal will have vanished. Of course it is possible to see the BT Wholesale 8Mbps trial as its response to the emerging LLU market, if it is then lets hope this tag game can continue, as it will drive the variety of service options to perhaps match and maybe exceed those of France for example.
While Bulldogs roll-out is encouraging, this is tempered slightly by the number of people we see on our forums having issues with the telephone service provided by Bulldog. It is not always clear whether the problems lie with Bulldog or the handover of the copper pair from BT in the exchange, but it seems that there is still some way to go before Bulldog is ready to cope with the demand levels that would be needed for LLU to reach a magical 1,000,000 user mark.
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