Is LLU take-up slowing down?
For sometime the growth in broadband has been slowing down, but the conversion from BT Wholesale IPStream and Datastream connections was continuing at a fast pace. The latest figures from the Telecommunications Adjudicator reveal a total of some 5,600,000 unbundled lines in the UK, which is a rise of 310,000 since October 2008. For basic telephone services the trend of wholesale line rental (WLR) increasing in popularity, and carrier pre-selection (CPS) waning continues.
When you consider that in August 2008, 87,000 new unbundled lines were added and that was considered a quiet month due to summer holidays, a rate of 103,000 per month for the last three months hints that demand for LLU services may be slowing.
Has the bundling juggernaut gone off the rails? Probably not, it is simply that most people who want broadband will now have it, and some of the remaining people on dial-up probably feel no need for it at home when they can do a little web browsing during their lunch break. The mobile broadband market is also making some headway in terms of a rapid growth particularly among those who use their broadband for just an hour or two a week. While there are some embracing the fact you do not need to have a traditional telephone line to use mobile broadband, the current usage restrictions and high costs mean mobile broadband dongles are often bought for use in addition to an existing ADSL/ADSL2+ or cable broadband service.
The January 2009 report from the adjudicator has no other surprises in it. For the average consumer the important part is that the adjudicator is continuing to push for adoption of its Best Practice Migration Guide. The guide, combined with Ofcom General Condition 22, should make migrations fairly painless and for the majority it has, alas there are still some providers who fall into dispute with suppliers and broadband customers end up getting the run around. Hopefully Ofcom itself will decide that enough is enough and come down hard on providers who play fast and loose with the rules.