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Line unbundling nears 500,000 milestone

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Almost half a million phone lines have been unbundled in the UK as take-up of local loop unbundling (LLU) continues to accelerate.

The latest monthly report from the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA) reveals that the number of unbundled lines is now more than 471,000 with numbers growing each week.

While the bulk migration of lines is also increasing and is "achieving a good quality level", the OTA reports that there are still concerns about the delivery of backhaul and the migration of customers both to and from unbundled lines.

"The availability of migration processes between LLU and IPStream [the end-to-end wholesale broadband product] is now causing some concern to OTA and Ofcom. Significant work is required by Openreach and BT Wholesale to ensure the processes are fit for purpose and will have little impact on end users," said the OTA.

A new system is due to be introduced by the end of June that should make it easier for broadband users to switch providers. The system, currently under trial by BT, is part of an automated process called the "Equivalence Management Platform" (EMP) and should help speed up migration from local loop unbundling (LLU) operators back to BT's wholesale end-to-end IPStream product, which is commonly resold by ISPs. Customers with an LLU line typically have to wait more than ten days to switch providers. The new system should reduce that to just a couple of days. ®

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