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Carphone talks tough on LLU deadline

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"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 October.

With observations such as these, it should come as no surprise that Dunstone is already making threats. Carphone needs LLU to work flawlessly if its free broadband offer is to be a commercial success. But operators also need BT to make LLU work. With less than three months to go until Carphone kicks off its great adventure, LLU has a long way to go before all those glitches and gremlins are ironed out.

For proof, just ask Wanadoo customers who are currently complaining about being left without a broadband service for almost three months. Wanadoo's explanation is that "LLU is a very complex technology and a number of things can go wrong". But that doesn't explain why consumers are fed misinformation about their lack of connection or why they are left broadband-less for weeks on end.

Which leads onto another area that could trip up Carphone - the "Bulldog scenario".

Last year the Cable & Wireless (C&W) owned ISP attempted to grab a lead in the broadband arena with an aggressive price offer for its unbundled service and a blanket marketing campaign. But it was unable to cope with demand, became bogged down with LLU technical problems and didn't have sufficient workers on board to handle customer enquiries and complaints.

Last year's debacle led to a formal investigation by regulator Ofcom, and Bulldog's brand was damaged and dented by a PR disaster much of its own making. Carphone execs will be hoping that something similar doesn't happen later this year. ®

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