Telecoms Adjudicator update reveals over 8 million unbundled lines in the UK
The original roll-out of ADSL was slow to get going, and unbundled (LLU) lines took a couple of years to grow in popularity, with the TalkTalk 'free' broadband deals in 2006 really waking up that sector of the market. The Telecommunications Adjudicator Update for January 2012 informs us that there are some 8,000,200 unbundled lines. The first few months of 2011 had shown LLU numbers hovering around the 7,600,000 mark, so it was in the later part of 2011 that the extra half million were added.
The continued roll-outs of LLU to more exchanges by Sky probably accounts for a lot of the numbers, TalkTalk has added more exchanges in this period, but this has resulted in a mixed set of results. Wholesale Line Rental continues to prove popular with some 6.28 million lines, Carrier Pre Selection (CPS) is continuing its diminishing popularity at 2.58 million lines.
The continued roll-out of LLU hardware, extending the reach of ADSL2+ deeper into rural areas, looks set to get a boost, with a complex sites project underway, that should see exchanges were the work to provide space and power for communication providers was put on hold, resolving these problems often means an average delivery time of 205 days, the project should reduce this delay. Problems like this go some way to explaining why an exchange may appear on a providers roll-out list, but at a later date vanish from the list of unbundled exchanges.
The Passive Infrastructure Access (PIA) trial should have closed at the end of January 2012, though a number of providers requested more time to complete trials before undertaking full contracts for the service, the granting of an extension is in Openreach's court. It is important for providers to be aware of the costs and foibles of PIA, as for firms like Fujitsu, access to Openreach ducts is central to its plans to roll-out fibre to the premises in areas where it bids for BDUK projects.