Wanadoo punter slips through LLU net

Isolated case or first of many?

Wanadoo is busy trying to reconnect one of its punters who has been left without broadband for more than a month. The punter (we've decided to withhold his name) from Manchester, received an email on January 5 telling him that his broadband connection would be upgraded to 8 meg on January 16.

The upgrade is part of Wanadoo's investment in local loop unbundling (LLU) enabling it to offer increased speeds to users.

Snag is, instead of an improved connection he got nothing, and 35 calls to Wanadoo tech support over the last month have failed to get him reconnected.

In a statement, Wanadoo said it was now in contact with the customer, who has been with the ISP since the early days of Freeserve, and is working "to try and resolve his situation as quickly as possible".

At the moment it's not known why or how this punter lost his broadband connection. It could be an isolated case, just "one of those things". Then again...

According to the latest industry predictions, between 2m and 3m lines could be unbundled this year in the UK.

Even if a tiny fraction of these migrations fail - for whatever reason - thousands of people could slip through the net and lose their connections. Senior industry sources have told The Register that while there is real excitement about the potential of LLU, there is a fair amount of nervousness too concerning a whole host of "what ifs?".

That's why ISPs are doing all they can to ensure the complex processes and procedures involved in switching customers from BT's network to their own is done without a hitch. But they're aware that despite all their best efforts, things could still go wrong.

Indeed, this is a view shared by Wanadoo. In a statement regarding this case the ISP told us: "Ever since we began our LLU programme, our utmost objective has been to preserve and improve our customers' experience and that's why we are rolling out our LLU network in a controlled manner, rather than migrating our customers en masse. We have already successfully migrated thousands of our customers to the new Wanadoo network.

"However, in common with all new technologies, and as experienced by other LLU operators, not just in the UK but also elsewhere in Europe, we know that from time to time, some faults will arise. We are fully equipped to deal with these and are working closely with BT Openreach to resolve any problems as soon as they are brought to our attention.

"In the unfortunate event that customers experience extended problems, we will make sure they are fully compensated, and we will work with them to resolve any problems as quickly as we can." ®

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