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AOL preps LLU broadband launch

Begins UK trial, places exchange orders

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

AOL could be about to unveil its own broadband service in the UK by investing in local loop unbundling (LLU), The Register has learned.

The ISP - which has more than a million broadband users - has just kicked off a small trial in London to test its broadband service. It's also just placed its first orders with BT to unbundle exchanges.

Exact details of AOL's LLU plans are being kept closely under wraps although El Reg understands that an announcement could be made within the next couple of weeks or so. 

Asked to comment a spokesman for AOL UK told us: "We can confirm that we have placed orders for exchanges. A handful of people have just started trialling our LLU service."

AOL's decision to invest in LLU comes as rival Wanadoo UK is due to flick the switch on its new unbundled broadband service this month with the promise of speeds up to 8 meg.

And that's not all. The UK's LLU industry is buzzing at the moment with a string of operators announcing their plans for unbundled broadband.

Satellite operator Sky has made it clear it intends to enter the UK's broadband market with the £211m acquisition of LLU operator Easynet, while Carphone Warehouse last week confirmed plans to spend up to £45m by installing its kit in around 1,000 BT exchanges.

Video Networks - which already has some 34,000 broadband punters - is to unbundle hundreds more exchanges as it makes its broadband TV service available to some ten million viewers in the UK.

Meanwhile Cable & Wireless (C&W) owned Bulldog is fighting back after a miserable summer with the launch of a new marketing campaign for its LLU service. ®

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