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LLU falters in UK

'Cause for concern'

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There's yet more bad news for telecoms operators keen to invest in providing their own broadband services direct to end users.

The Office of the Telecoms Adjudicator (OTA) has flagged up yet more problems with local loop unbundling (LLU) in the UK. The situation is so bad the OTA is now "disappointed" with the progress that's been made.

In its latest assessment the OTA said the operational problems reported over the last couple of months "continue to persist and are giving me significant cause for concern".

"Current poor performance is being caused by a combination of automation instability, poor software problem handling, volume growth and resource shortfalls. This has led to an overall deterioration in the quality of delivery," said the OTA.

In a bid to restore faith in LLU the OTA has received assurances from the head of BT's new equal access network group - BT Openreach - that these problems are of the "highest priority".

Even so, the OTA remarks that after many months of steady progress BT, the OTA and LLU operators are "disappointed at the current setbacks" although are "focused on getting back on track"

LLU ISP Bulldog - which is facing an investigation by regulator Ofcom after receiving hundreds of customer complaints - continues to blame part of its troubles on the cumbersome LLU process and fingers the "shortcomings of the BT automated process" for slower customer provisioning.

LLU newcomer "Be" has also been hit by problems reporting that only six in ten orders go live within two-to-four weeks. "One of our greater challenges has been getting our automated interfaces with BT to run smoothly," it said.

Despite the problems, the OTA reported that there are now 123,000 unbundled lines in the UK with numbers growing by around 4,000 a week.

"However the operational problems the industry are experiencing confirm there is still some way to go before we consolidate the Market Breakthrough we all aspire to," it said. ®

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