Number of LLU lines continues to grow
Local Loop Unbundling continues to grow in popularity. The Telecommunications Adjudicator in his March 2006 update, has stated that there are over 360,000 unbundled lines, and this is growing at a rate of around 15,000 lines per week.
It seems likely that as a number of providers are now looking to, or have started a forced migration of customers from the BT Wholesale platforms onto a LLU platform that the growth rate is due for another boost.
Unbundled services offer the consumer a variety of options, for example the services with ADSL2+ line speeds of up to 24Mbps in some areas. There is also the video services available via HomeChoice as another example of the options out there, then Bulldog are currently the sole provide offering the consumer the chance of the voice part of the line also being unbundled. Alas while unbundling is offering a wider variety of options, it is not always a happy story, WanadooProblems.co.uk was highlighted by The Register, and while Wanadoo is putting its hands up and admitting problems, it is not impossible that other LLU providers will see similar issues.
The biggest frustration for the consumer is that if they wish to part company with a LLU provider it is currently not plain sailing. The migration systems for migrating around the BT Wholesale products are not perfect, but are vastly better than the most common route used for leaving a LLU provider, which is to cease the service, and then pay for an activation fee after a gap in service to your new provider. Whose fault is this? One can point a finger at BT Wholesale, but with LLU the alternate provider is involved nearly as much. The indications are that improved system for migration from an LLU product to another provider is on the way, but for 1000's it probably cannot come soon enough. For the companies like Wanadoo, AOL, Pipex, Plusnet and others who have programmes to move customers onto an unbundled service, the need for a smooth migration both onto and off the products is essential to consumer confidence.