Is LLU growth seasonal or has it just slowed down?
Back in October 2013 we posted that the UK had 9,251,400 unbundled lines, and now in April 2014 the number is 9,257,700 a growth of just 5,300 over several months according to the latest report from the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator.
The charts on the OTA2 website suggest this may just be a cycle that LLU growth has entered and may be heavily influenced by promotional activity from the two largest operators, Sky and TalkTalk. Alternatively it may be a sign that demand for broadband in the UK is slowing down, i.e. all those who want it and can get it have it.
The quarterly financial reports from the major providers do not show the same slow growth, so there is the possibility that the growth in the big four providers is at the expense of the smaller diverse operators.
The success of unbundling is one of the things that makes UK broadband look good on the world stage as it helps to provide consumer choice, but it could be said that the ease with which alternate operators can access the BT/Openreach infrastructure has stymied the need for alternate networks. The UK has already spent 25 years building one alternate infrastructure under commercial auspices, and the various cable franchises have all merged into one firm - Virgin Media who are now owned by an overseas firm Liberty Global (Wight Telecom on the Isle of Wight is the last hold-out).
A wee snippet of news on the progress of the new migration scheme, the new system that will rewrite all the rule books is still on schedule for June 2015.