The Great British march towards local loop unbundling has gathered further pace after the UK’s first commercial ISP, Pipex, announced it also wants to take the power back.
With around 215,000 customers the company is now playing with the big leagues and is in a position install its own kit in BT exchanges, rather than continue to go through the former monopolist. Consequently, Pipex will be able to start calling the shots and the inevitable result will be faster services and cheaper costs.
60 exchanges have been targeted initially by the company, which saw sales increase by 46 per cent on the same period last year. The names of those exchanges have not been released, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist – or perhaps even a bottle top maker – to figure out that it will be those with the highest density of customers. Think London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, London, London and probably more London.
Unlike other ISPs who have gone down this route, such as UK Online, Bulldog and Freedom2Surf, Pipex hasn’t made a big song and dance about how this move will enable it to shove a prepubescent ADSL2+ out of the door at the earliest opportunity. Clearly, therefore, the emphasis will initially be on price: giving its users a better deal and perhaps even making itself something more than the skin off its teeth margins that most ISP have to stomach.
That said, BT may be wounded, but it lives on for now. As The Eagles once sung in Hotel California, its track about the LLU fight back from ISPs verses multinational telcos: “They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast”.
(That was their inspiration, right?)