Another one bites the dust

…and no this isn’t about Eyjafjallajokull, but more about the demise of another LLU operator, in Orange.

It was reported last week by the Times that Orange have outsourced their infrastructure to BT Wholesale, in a similar deal to that penned by KCOM last year. The article referenced a Bruno Duarte, VP of strategy, who stated that “We are not satisfied with where we stand with broadband, as our customer base is declining and our performance is poor. But we need to remain in fixed-line broadband so decided to fundamentally change what we are doing,”

Personally I think that it’s a shame that this happened. Some may say it was inevitable, due to the operator haemoraging customers, and when presented with the figures, it’s hard to disagree. However I hark back to the time when Freeserve were one of the first ADSL2+ suppliers, with both a good product and nationwide reach, and from these beginnings, it’s a shame that they’ve ended this way. It’s a strange cycle, whereby an LLU network feels the need to outsource maintenance of their infrastrucutre back to BT, especially after the deregulation of the industry in the early noughties. I guess it’s a sign of how competitive the broadband industry has become. No doubt one of the drivers was to provide much needed funds for their impending merger with T-Mobile.

As a mobile operator with their own network. Orange could be seen as being quite unique in their market, especially with the landscape shifting towards providing converged IP solutions. Although the force of this won’t be felt for some time, it’s clear to see that many newer customers at market 3 exchanges will be presented with an IPStream connect tail as opposed to Orange LLU. And although for BT this can be seen as a major coup, for Orange I feel that as a cost cutting exercise, they may have made a decision they will come to regret in the future.

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