Back in September 2004, C&W committed to spending £100 million to LLU enable 400 exchanges for Bulldog DSL and telephony services within 18 months. This has been accomplished, seven months in advance. The Register has the news that C&W are set to invest more money into their LLU roll-out by doubling the number of exchanges to 800. The C&W results for the year ending March 2005, give a deadline of March 2006, for a total of 600 exchanges, and 800 exchanges in the first half of the financial year 2006/2007.
Looking forward, it appears that Bulldog are to launch a new SOHO broadband product in June 2005, that will provide 8 VoIP lines, data and fast Internet access. The results also make for interesting reading, since they show that the revenue generated by Bulldog was £11 million, but staff costs alone mounted to £12 million, this covers salary and recruitment costs for Bulldogs 505 staff.
Neither Cable and Wireless or The Register give figures for how many LLU users are on the Bulldog service. In February 2005 it was reported that the UK had 31,000 LLU lines across the few providers supplying this service. The latest Ofcom measures produced by BT suggest around 3500 LLU lines are ordered each week currently, of which ~1900 were of the LLU variety used by Bulldog (and other providers). The source of these figures is an Excel spreadsheet located here. We believe the spreadsheet also shows the number of LLU lines in the UK as of 22nd May 2005 was around 60,000.
News of providers increasing the number of LLU exchanges in the UK will please Ofcom, who see the increased competition as vital to the UK Telecoms market. Certainly for consumers and businesses the increase in the variety of options for both DSL and telephony products is also welcome, though it looks likely that LLU will never reach the same coverage levels as the BT Wholesale DSL services.
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