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Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) is the regulatory process of allowing regular BT lines to be used by other telecommunications operators (i.e. TalkTalk) to make use of connections from the telephone exchange’s central office to a customer’s home. The process of a physical connection between the company and the customer is know as ‘Local Loop’, with AOL currently having more local loop connections unbundled than any other ISP.

Some companies, for example AOL, are actually charging higher prices for those customers using their service who are not on AOL’s LLU service, paying up to £10 more than those who are.

However according to PointTopic, the major companies involved in LLU are attempting a big push to get more customers, particularly Carphone Warehouse, who own both TalkTalk and AOL.

Carphone Warehouse are currently the biggest player in LLU (see diagram below) and they are attempting aggressive measure to make that increase this year. They are planning to increase their LLU base from 700,000 from March 2007 to 1.96 million a year later. This means an average of 105,000 lines a month, which is a substantial amount considering that only 210,000 lines were converted for LLU in march. This leaves only half of that number to share between other big ISPs such as Orange, Sky and Tiscali, never mind the smaller ISPs who will probably barely get a look in.

Carphone Warehouse seem to be focussing far more on LLU rather than market share, as they aim to get 70% of their customers using LLU by March 2008. however their progress maybe slowed by BT’s ability to deliver those lines.

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