I read that some providers have 'LLU broadband'. What does that mean? Is it better or worse than ADSL?
Jim Rushton, via email
Our expert Kim says...
Broadband is full of confusing jargon, and it can be hard to get to grips with all the lingo. You may have heard of LLU, but what does it mean? Loose liability underneath? Lock leeches up? Large lip-syncing unicorn?
Unfortunately, it's a bit more technical than that. Read on and we'll tell you everything you need to know about LLU broadband.
What does LLU mean?
LLU stands for 'local loop unbundling', which doesn't really give us much information. But put simply, it's a form of technology that allows multiple providers to use a single telecom network.
A 'local loop' describes the wires and equipment that connect your home to the local telephone exchange - also known as the 'last mile'. It's the actual cable through which you receive your landline and broadband. One company (or local authority) is generally the original owner of the local loops, but by unbundling them it can let another provider sell services through the line as well. The companies share use of the physical network, but the exact services they can offer your home can vary.
BT (www.bt.com) originally owned and ran the main phone network in the UK, for example, but in 2001 Ofcom decreed that it must open up the last mile to other companies. Its monopoly over all the lines was stifling competition and innovation, Ofcom said. Thus LLU was introduced and the BT Openreach division was formed. Now other companies like Sky (www.sky.com) and TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk) can offer broadband to homes that have a BT line, with no need to shell out the money to build their own network.
Which providers use LLU?
If a provider doesn't own its own network of cables and phone lines, it's using LLU, via the BT Openreach network. They include:
Featured broadband deals
|Broadband Unlimited||Fast Broadband||Unlimited Broadband + Weekend Calls||Unlimited Broadband - Line Rental Only||Superfast Fibre + Weekend Calls|
|£235.95 Total first year cost||£204.00 Total first year cost||£204.00 Total first year cost||£282.00 Total first year cost||£369.87 Total first year cost|
|£18.00 p/m for 12 months £19.95 setup costs 12 month contract||£17.00 p/m for 12 months 12 month contract||£17.00 p/m for 12 months 12 month contract||£21.00 p/m for 1 month £30.00 setup costs 1 month contract||£29.99 p/m for 18 months £9.99 setup costs 18 month contract|
|Average speed 10 Mb||Average speed 11 Mb||Average speed 11 Mb||Average speed 11 Mb||Average speed 50 Mb|
|Pay as you go||Pay as you go||Weekend calls inc.||Pay as you go||Weekend calls inc.|
|Offer ends 21/06/18||Offer ends 12/07/18||Offer ends 30/09/18||Offer ends 30/06/18||Offer ends 21/06/18|
Call Sky on 0800 759 1469
Mon to Sun 8am-10pm
Call TalkTalk on 0800 049 7843
Mon to Thurs 8am-10pmFri to Sun 8am-9pm
Call SSE on 0330 053 5146
Mon - Fri 8am-8pmSat 8am-2pm
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
Benefits of LLU
- It creates competition, and gives you a greater choice of broadband providers almost anywhere in the UK
- Providers can install their own software, so different services are available - like different download speeds, call charges, and usage caps
- It makes it easier to switch between providers
- Unbundling a few loops is far less hassle for providers than installing cables
- It's also cheaper than building entire new networks, so prices are kept affordable
- It's easier to roll out new technologies