Another document issued by Ofcom this week, has been the Review of the Wholesale Local Access Market - Broadband Regulation. Generally this document considers the current broadband market and the emergence local loop unbundling. The full Ofcom document is located here.
In terms of simple figures, Ofcom states that the number of unbundled exchanges in the UK is around 650, and this accounts for roughly 45% of the population. It should be noted that BT actually has around 5500 exchanges, which means reaching 45% coverage is fairly easy, getting to a figure of 80 to 90% will be much harder. As of June 2005, there are also around 70,000 unbundled lines accounting for around 1% of the UK broadband market.
Ofcom has decided that at this time there is no need for a formal set of regulations to ensure a margin does exist for LLU to operate within. It would seem BT has done enough to put this on hold. Though one result of this is an undertaking that BT Wholesale IPStream pricing will drop by a maximum of 3% until 1st April 2007. This may change though if it is deemed that LLU has succeeded and has a large enough market share to compete head on with BT Wholesale.
We have on our forums seen concerns from consumers in areas of the UK that are unlikely to ever see LLU services. Fortunately it seems Ofcom does recognise that its regulation may not be able to be applied equally to all parts of the UK. Ofcom will be considering in a review due to start in late 2005, 'the extent to which geographic variations in competitive conditions exist; and the possible need to adopt different regulatory solutions in different geographies and the implications of this for ISPs and consumers.'
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