Spotted over at LondonStockExchange.com is the news that Tiscali and PlusNet have announced that following trials, PlusNet is to roll-out LLU services, making use of the Tiscali Wholesale LLU network.
This wholesale LLU network will offer speeds up to 8Mbps, and up to 24Mbps where Tiscali have kit supporting an ADSL2+ service. This LLU service is in addition to the roll-out of an up to 8Mbps ADSL service using the BT Wholesale network and the Max products which launch on the 31st March 2006. The attraction for service providers to use alternative wholesale providers is both the potential cost savings, and the options like ADSL2+ which are as yet a pipe-dream on the BT Wholesale network. Todays news of a contract with Tiscali does not preclude further deals elsewhere, and PlusNet are still trialling the Easynet LLU platform.
The unbundled service PlusNet will be offering is termed a 'shared unbundled service' which means that the telephone service on the line remains unaltered, all that is unbundled is the broadband part of the line.
PlusNet customers will not be given the option of choosing which network their connection users, PlusNet will upgrade or regrade lines onto what it feels is the appropriate service, which is not unlike the move to LLU products that companies like Wanadoo are undertaking. This means that as PlusNet rolls out the upgrades for customers onto the up to 8Mbps services, people may get a BT Wholesale or a Tiscali Wholesale product.
The extensive range of PlusNet products will remain identical no matter which wholesale network a users connection is provided over, and the companies intention is that the user experience should be identical no matter which network is used. The one area that is troublesome for almost all unbundled operators at present, is where a user wants to migrate away to another service provider. While we do see people getting Migration Authorisation Codes to allow them to migrate, it seems very hit and miss on LLU, and a number of providers have been seen to reject these codes, which can make migration a lot harder. PlusNet is taking the view that migrations should be seamless between LLU, IPStream and DataStream products, and are pushing for the systems to be put in place to allow this. With the volume of LLU services rapidly increasing, BT, the providers and the regulators need to ensure the consumer is not left at a disadvantage.
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