The head of Oftel has said that local loop unbundling has "not been a success" and that the practicalities surrounding opening up BT's network to competition has been a "painful and often miserable process".
Interviewed on the online business video service, Cantos.com David Edmonds explained that LLU had been one of the "most complex regulatory interventions that Oftel's ever had to do" made worse by BT's reluctance to open up "the last mile" to competition.
Said Mr Edmonds: "There is no doubt that the actual practicality of that has been a painful and often miserable process. There is no doubt that in carrying through the strict requirements on them, BT didn't behave in a way that I believed showed that they really wanted to unbundle the local loop to let their competitors into the network. At every stage we've had arguments and we've had disputes."
Despite the problems Mr Edmonds remains upbeat about the process and remains focused on the notion that LLU will ensure that the UK's fixed line phone network is opened up to competition and that it will yield broadband services.
He went on: "So local loop unbundling has not been a success and I make no bones about that, but the impact on the marketplace is now starting to show, I think, in quite solid and growing and, in some cases, dramatically growing terms."
According to the latest update from Oftel fewer than 200 lines have been unbundled so far. ®