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LLU broadband passes six million mark
Tuesday 11 August 2009 11:38:52 by Andrew Ferguson

Local loop unbundling continues to grow, even if the rate is a little slower than previously. The latest figures from the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator tell us that the UK had some 6.01 million unbundled lines at the end of July 2009. When you consider that the UK had in total just six million broadband lines at the end of 2004, you can see how much the market has changed in five years. The total number of broadband connections in the UK currently is around 18 million.

The popularity of Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) continues to increase with 6.09 million lines where people have chosen to move their voice line rental away from BT Retail to another provider. A lot of these people appear to be people who previously had a calls only (CPS) package as the number using CPS has dropped to 3.9 million.

While complaining about the state of UK broadband is an easy topic, when you consider that winter 2004/2005 saw news on BT announcing 21 exchanges for its up to 8Meg trials, you can see how far we have come. The Home 500 product was still the most common service, to the extent we still ran a monthly speed round-up at that time. A few providers using unbundled offered faster speeds, but at that time France had ASDL2+ for €30 a month.


Posted by fusen over 7 years ago
4/5 years to go from 2Mbit/s to an average of 6-8Mbit/s?

That's not exactly great progress...
Posted by s0nic over 7 years ago
The average is closer to 3-4Mbit/s.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
5 years ago given the number of narrowband users, it wasn't close to 2Mbit average either.
Posted by phil917k over 7 years ago
And what about those of us who just happen to be connected to small exchanges? In my case Sowton (with around 1000 users) rather than the main Exeter one (~30000 users). Apparently there's no prospect at all of LLU extending to us so no access whatsoever to the best speeds or price deals.
Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
Are not the LLU numbers just a proxy for an underlying demand for 24x7 converged connectivity.

That we are still discussing WLR (Voice) and not driving for better data connectivity is a bit peculiar.
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
The LLU numbers are a proxy for the subscriptions to free/low cost/bundled services where they are looking to minimimse costs. The number of "user chooser" LLU users after specific technical benefits is probably quite small - how many Talk Talk users would fit into this category, for example.
Posted by whatever2 over 7 years ago
The number of "user chooser" LLU users after specific technical benefits is probably quite small

Very debatable considering the headline speeds of LLU offerings.
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
Talk Talk, Orange, Tiscali LLU are all up to 8M. How many Sky customers took anything other than the free 2M offer etc etc. I would say at least 5 out of the 6m are there through price or bundling rather than any technical consideration.
Posted by CaptainW over 7 years ago
@ herdwick: Sky's FREE Base service - taken by (from memory from results) 40% - I could be making this up as I'm thinking about the question that was asked by an investor during their results to the city 4 months ago on not this set of results, but 3 months before.

As I say - I could be wrong.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago

TalkTalk does a speed boost, to get the 'up to' 24Mbps speeds.
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
I thnk that the majority of LLU connections are the result of reduced pricing/bundling but it's only an impression I have. I haven't seen any statistics and don't really know where you'd get them from.

My main reason for assuming this is that in the vast majority of 'What ISP?' threads price is the number one consideration. Even if they claim speed is most important it often turns out that it isn't.

It's something that has long irked me about BB in this country - there's too much concentration on price.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
no doubt a large chunk of LLU is due to price, but I wouldnt wite off those moving for technical reasons, I expect it is still a significant amount, and it will only increase with now aaisp the latest BTw customer looking at LLU options.
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
Well I moved to Be in order to escape Nildram because they were taken over by Pipex who at the time were about to be taken over by Tiscali. I've never regretted it :)
Posted by Middlefield over 7 years ago
The GPO was able to offer sufficient bandwidth over copper wires for full definition analogue TV outside broadcasts in 1937 - 3MHz. With care a digital line could yield 10MHz but BT has lost the knowhow, ability and will to do this.
The truth is that with BT's dominant position, in spite of unbundling, we will never see a proper digital network.
Also, remember the contention ratio of 50 - 7 years ago Singapore and Taiwan had fast coverage with a contention ratio of 20.
BT's speed tester is designed bto "cook the books" by waiting for a little-contended moment before its test.
Posted by nevillec over 7 years ago
Middlfield incorrect in your assumption that GPO had 3MHz over copper.The cable was a coaxial cable, on a main trunk route! Fact
Posted by donjay over 7 years ago
Nevillec is right. Only large busineses (ie BBC, TV companies, banks, etc, could afford such conditioned lines,on coaxial (or polyquad)cable, as they were specially provided. They were used for baseband analogue TV and would have cost hundreds of pounds a month. In any event, 3MHz analogue is not the same as 3Mbit/s digital.
Posted by BBSlowcoach over 7 years ago
My ISP tells me my exchange is labelled 'LLU Never'. An adjacent exchange is LLU. I am just out of a 12month contract & my ISP would like to (I am waiting for the news any time soon) increase my mnthly fee by 50%. If I lived in the LLU catchment my ISP would reduce my fee by 50%. If my ISP succeeds I will be paying 300% more than LLU delivered service.

AndrueC suggests price concentration is irksome. My message to AndrueC is try living on an income where every penny has to count. It is very irksome to the person faced with such differentials. Another example of post code lottery.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
So change ISP. And check to see who else may have unbundled your exchange on SamKnows.
Posted by BBSlowcoach over 7 years ago
Dawn, Thank you but I had already checked. BT retains a monopoly over the exchange. Moving back to them would triple my existing price. I know BT are in need but I am not that charitable towards them. This is the reality of 'non-urban' exchanges.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Um, BT wholesale might remain your only option, but you have a wide choice of ISP's on the retail side.
Posted by BBSlowcoach over 7 years ago
Yes Dawn I agree with you but their starting prices appear to be at and often above the price my existing ISP wants to raise me to.

The pit has no escape I fear.
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