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Local loop unbundling

Local loop unbundling (LLU) is the name for the process of allowing telecommunications operators other than the incumbent telco to use the twisted-pair local loop connections from the telephone exchange (American equivalent: 'central office') to the customer premises.

This process is usually driven by the government telecommunications regulator and often fiercely resisted by the incumbent operator, which sees LLU as an unnecessary attack on its core business.

Local loop unbundling is particularly relevant now (2001) as a way of increasing competition as the roll-out of ADSL and similar technologies progresses.

Many EU countries have now started a programme of local loop unbundling for this reason.

Unbundling progress around the world

UK: As of February 2002, the collapse of the alternative telco market in Britain has had adverse consequences for Oftel's strategy for telecoms deregulation in the UK, and leaves BT as the unchallenged dominant operator in ADSL connections, as well as traditional fixed-line telephony. To date, just 200 local loop connections have been 'unbundled' from BT operation under local loop unbundling.

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