BT agrees to give LLU chance to thrive

Hands off

BT has signalled its commitment to making local loop unbundling (LLU) work in the UK by promising not to cut charges for its wholesale broadband products until there are 1.5m unbundled lines in the UK.

The move is designed to give local loop unbundling LLU - the process by which rival operators install their own kit in BT exchanges to provide telecoms services direct to end users - a fighting chance of becoming an established source of competition.

With around 60,000 unbundled lines in the UK at the moment, the proposal put forward by regulator Ofcom should give the UK's telecoms industry enough room to invest inLLU and to gain enough customers before facing competitive pressure from BT.

One of the concerns tabled by operators was their reluctance to invest in LLU if there were doubts about the viability of that financial commitment.

Key planks of the regulatory agreement thrashed out between Ofcom and BT outlined yesterday are increased competition and regulatory certainty for the industry.

In a statement BT said that it had "agreed to a request from Ofcom that the rental prices for IPStream and Datastream [it main wholesale ADSL products used by ISPs] will not fall until there are 1.5m unbundled lines in the UK.

"This move will provide LLU operators and service providers with greater certainty for their investment plans," it said.

The monster telco also said it will cut the rental price for a fully unbundled local loop from £105 a year to £80 from August 1. ®

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