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Carphone eyes Local Loop Unbundling

LLUOs still 'lack confidence'

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Carphone Warehouse could become the latest outfit to provide telco services direct to end users by investing in local loop unbundling (LLU).

An announcement about its plans could come as early as this week, reports The Sunday Times, hot on the heels of satellite TV broadcaster Sky, Wanadoo and Plusnet, which have all recently announced their plans for LLU.

With more than a million subscribers to Carphone's TalkTalk fixed-line phone business and some 70,000 broadband punters, investing in LLU could make sense for the mobile retailer-cum-telco.

According to the latest industry stats there are now more than 130,000 unbundled lines in the UK with numbers growing by around 4,000 a week. However, The Office of the Telecoms Adjudicator (OTA) - which is responsible for overseeing the development of LLU - recently flagged up yet more problems with LLU sating that it was "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.

Despite these ongoing problems, telecoms regulator Ofcom has given its backing to the OTA even though it accepts that "many of the LLU operators still lack confidence in the systems and processes put in place for the delivery of LLU".

And Ofcom has also identified ongoing issues with BT staff who appear to be hindering progress. In its assessment of the OTA Ofcom noted: "The majority of the respondents praised BT's senior staff's commitment to the delivery of LLU; they have demonstrated a good understanding of the issues and have taken real ownership of them. However, there were still ongoing issues experienced with the level of commitment to LLU delivery from a number of BT's more junior staff." ®

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