Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Telecom Italia starts SLU trial in the Netherlands

Telecompaper reports that bbned, the Dutch wholesale internetprovider owned by Telecom Italia, is starting a VDSL trial in three Dutch towns in the Amsterdam area. For now, it appears to be a technical trial.
The infrastructure exists of fiber connected street cabinets, in which bbned installed VDSL gear. In other words, it uses SLU (sub-loop unbundling), instead of the more traditional LLU (running from MDF locations).
InterNLnet and SURFnet will retail the service. Speeds are 40/10 Mbps.
Bbned is also involved in munifiber projects.

Some remarks:
  • As KPN is planning and building it's All-IP network (including nationwide FttExchange + VDSL2 by 2010), bbned appears to be the most committed altnet. This comes as no surprise. Orange (which denied being for sale, much like bbned itself) and Tiscali NL (which will be bought by KPN if the competition regulator NMa allows it) are on the sidelines. Tele2/Versatel is committed as well.
  • When it comes to VDSL services, bbned is actually beating KPN. KPN is targeting a May launch, which is questionable now that the telecoms regulator OPTA is reviewing the All-IP plan and the market's response to it (due June). However, a bbned launch could support the case for an early KPN launch, as this shows that SLU is viable after all.
  • Talking of which; Analysys produced a report which all but ruled out SLU conducted by altnets for lack of scale. In other words, as LLU becomes unavailable (when KPN closes and sells MDF locations), SLU may be realistic after all. This will make matters much easier for OPTA, which has to come up with an alternative to LLU.

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