The Openreach unit of BT Group Plc revealed on Thursday that its Local Loop Unbundling product had reached half a million unbundled lines in the UK. BT said this represents a fifty-fold increase in the number of unbundled lines since the start of 2004.
Openreach said that on average, it was fulfilling more than 20,000 LLU orders per week. Nearly 20 operators are currently providing unbundled services in the UK, from almost 1,000 local exchanges. There is a total of 4,500 telephone exchanges in the UK, but operators are concentrating on the exchanges in the major metropolitan areas.
Openreach also revealed reduced pricing for full and shared LLU products. From July 1, prices for operators wanting to migrate end users in bulk from BT Wholesale’s broadband products to Openreach’s shared LLU product will be 25.39 ($46.95), which is 27% less than the price for migrating a single user.
Openreach was created in January and works alongside BT’s existing retail, wholesale, and global services units. It principally oversees access to its local network for BT rivals. This is known as the first mile of connections, which is the fibers and wiring linking millions of homes and businesses in the UK to communications providers’ networks via local BT exchanges.
The unit will also be responsible for the national local BT network. Openreach employs approximately 30,000 people, including nearly all of BT’s 25,000 engineers.
Meanwhile, it has been reported in the UK media that BT has ruled itself out from bidding for internet service provider AOL’s UK operations. Reports at the weekend had suggested that UK satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc and BT were leading the charge to acquire the UK operation. However, both were thought to have reservations concerning the 600m pound ($1.1bn) asking price.
This means that BSkyB is left in the running, with the broadcaster planning to launch its own broadband offering this summer.