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C&W sets sights on one million wholesale LLU lines

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Cable & Wireless (C&W) plans to supply one million unbundled broadband lines over the next couple of years as it changes tack to provide wholesale DSL.

There are currently some 500,000 unbundled lines in the UK but that figure could hit more than two million this year according to some industry estimates.

And while ISPs can invest in LLU themselves, buying a wholesale unbundled service could prove more cost effective.

Yesterday C&W announced it had decided to stop actively competing in the residential broadband market acknowledging the impact of "free" broadband offers from the likes of Carphone Warehouse and Orange.

While 150 sales and marketing jobs are set to go, the ISP will continue to serve its existing 120,000 or so punters and take-on board new customers signing up via its website.

While C&W insisted it would not be ditching any of its existing customers, it's clear the firm has decided it can recoup more of its sizeable investment in local loop unbundling (LLU) by becoming a wholesale provider to rival incumbent telco BT.

As such, C&W's plans to install its kit in BT exchanges remains unchanged. At the end of March it had unbundled 411 exchanges and is still planning on doubling that number by the end of September.

Earlier this week BT cut the cost of migrating end users onto unbundled networks in a move to give LLU yet another shot in the arm. Openreach - BT's standalone access services division set up earlier this year - said the new pricing would make it cheaper for local loop unbundling (LLU) operators to move their customers from BT wholesale broadband products to unbundled services. ®

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