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LLU set to rocket in '06

OTA ups estimate to 3m lines

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As many as three million phone lines could be unbundled in the UK during 2006, the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA) announced today - tripling its forecast for the year.

Until recently, the OTA, which oversees the development of local loop unbundling (LLU), has said it expects around a million lines to be unbundled over the next 12 months.

In December, it reported that the UK was "still on target to achieve greater than one million lines unbundled in 2006", before adding that its forecasts, based on revised figures, were becoming very bullish.

Today, though, the OTA predicted that LLU looks likely to surge ahead. Based on the business plans being pulled together by LLU operators, the OTA's "new consolidated forecast predicts between two and three million lines unbundled by end of 2006".

What's more, the number of lines being unbundled each week has now passed 15,000 helping to take the total number of LLU lines to 250,000.

Last month AOL UK became the latest company to announce its investment in LLU with plans to spend up to £120m providing telecoms services direct to end users. Wanadoo is also involved in LLU, while the Carphone Warehouse is pressing ahead with plans to invest £45m in LLU over the next three years. ®

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