In what may be a shock move to some, but this announcement is something that the industry had heard talk and rumours about of for some time, Cable and Wireless has confirmed that it is pulling Bulldog out of the consumer and small business sector of the UK broadband market. The announcement can be read in full over at The Bulldog Lounge, where a FAQ is also available answering the common questions.
Cable and Wireless is to re-align Bulldog broadband as a business providing wholesale services to other service providers, and selling to large corporates as well by the end of 2006. This means that people should see an end to proactive sales, marketing and other advertising to residential customers. Existing customers with a service from Bulldog will continue to be served, and also can expect new services to be launched over time. Lets hope that Cable and Wireless will remember that the customers it has now are those that got Bulldog off the ground, and to some extent have effectively debugged the LLU roll-out for them.
The LLU roll-out plan from the company is unchanged, with the target of 800 exchanges by the end of September 2006 still holding, as of 31st March 2006 Bulldog had 411 exchanges unbundled. John Pluthero, Group Managing Director UK, indicates in the companies statement on the change that the move is aimed at maximising the return on their investment.
The local loop unbundling market is one that is becoming more competitive, and the task of supporting hundreds of thousands of consumers can be difficult at times. Whether the ambitious Talk Talk plans had any bearing on the decision is hard to know, but faced with a retail competitor who has a strong high street presence this change may pay well. In the past Bulldog did offer a wholesale service to other providers, but they withdraw this sometime ago to concentrate on their own retail brand.
As yet there are no details of what the wholesale products will be available to service providers will be, and we suspect it may actually be a case of having to wait until individual providers announce a deal with Bulldog before any idea of the product range is available.
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