According to data released by the UK’s Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator’s (OTA), in May 2011 the number of local loop unbundled (LLU) connections fell for the first time in a number of years, declining from 7.62 million at end-April 2011 to 7.56 million a month later. Further, with growth in LLU accesses having slowed in the last few months – standing at 7.59 million, 7.60 million and 7.62 million in Febraury, March and April respectively – the OTA suggested that a ‘plateau’ may have been reached. While it could be that migration to fibre- or cable-based broadband alternatives may in part explain the decline, the OTA said: ‘There are several factors that have an influence on these numbers and we will continue to monitor progress.’ With regard to fixed line telephony meanwhile, the OTA reported that at end-May 2011 there were 6.15 million wholesale line rental (WLR) lines in the UK, up from 6.14 million a month earlier, while the number of telephone numbers using carrier pre-selections (CPS) was 2.91 million, down from 2.94 million.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, BT Openreach took control of fixed line incumbent BT’s nationwide local loop network upon its inauguration on 22 January 2006. The division employs around 26,000 people, most of whom are engineers, and is responsible for providing transparent and equal access to the PSTN.