Why you’re better off on LLU than BT broadband

belkin-router-174x300Ofcom’s latest research into broadband speeds might have been spectacularly indecisive on the surface, but when you start digging through the 113 pages of the full report, some interesting nuggets of information begin to emerge.

Why you're better off on LLU than BT broadband

One of the most noteworthy of these is that broadband customers on local loop unbundled (LLU) lines – where the ISP has put its own equipment in the telephone exchange – are generally on much faster connections than those with connections delivered by BT Wholesale.

The graph below shows the difference in speed is particularly marked during the peak daytime and evening hours (click on graph to enlarge):

llu-speeds-graphOfcom says: “this slowdown during peak periods is the result of contention on the network as multiple users share the same backhaul bandwidth. The faster average speeds delivered by LLU operators are likely to be a reflection of the lower cost per unit of backhaul capacity for operators using their own network compared to the cost of renting capacity from wholesale suppliers (such as BT Wholesale or Cable & Wireless).”

O2 is top dog among the LLU providers, delivering “significantly faster speeds” than TalkTalk, Tiscali and AOL. You may also remember from yesterday’s figures that O2 was the only ISP whose peak time speeds were no lower its off-peak: unlike BT, which saw its peak-time speeds drop by almost 20%.


Remember that many ISPs – including O2 – have customers on both LLU and wholesale lines (or ‘on-net’ and ‘off-net’), so if you’re planning to defect from a wholesale provider, make sure you’re not just signing up for more of the same.

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