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Onetel is to ditch BT as its supplier of wholesale broadband following a deal with local loop unbundling (LLU) outfit Easynet.

Part of the Centrica Group - which also operates under the British Gas and Scottish Gas brands - Onetel has some 70,000 broadband punters. Following the deal with Easynet some 20,000 punters look set to be unhooked from BT's network and wired up to Easynet instead.

The three-year deal for Easynet's LLUStream wholesale broadband product is described as offering "a significant discount to BT Wholesale broadband services". Onetel should be able to offer those unbundled punters broadband speeds of up to 8 meg.

In a statement Onetel MD Ian El-Mokadem said: "The partnership with Easynet will allow us to deploy next generation broadband services and benefit from Local Loop Unbundling economics. The market is set to evolve rapidly and we wanted a partner that could demonstrate experience in the local loop, and a willingness to work in a true partnership."

LLUStream was launched in December and provides a wholesale broadband service for telcos and ISPs who don't want to hook up to BT. Easynet claims its prices are between 30-35 per cent cheaper than BT Wholesale although the LLU service is only available in areas where BT exchanges have been unbundled.

So far Easynet has installed its kit in 240 BT exchanges covering 4.4m homes and 700,000 businesses. Last month Easynet announced plans to extend this programme to an extra 100 exchanges across the UK. ®

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Easynet squares up to BT with wholesale broadband

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