Internet users in the UK are now able to get speeds of up to 24 meg, thanks to local loop unbundling (LLU). The existence of LLU is starting to have a marked impact on the UK's telecoms sector, and companies such as BT are having to work to compete. Some believe that without LLU, BT Wholesale would still be at 1 meg, with no real incentive to improve.

Instead, the UK's dominant fixed line telco looks set to increase broadband speeds across its network to 8 meg from next spring as it plays catch-up to an ever-increasing number of ISPs lining up to take advantage of LLU and the promise of faster speeds and more innovative services.

LLU - the process by which ISPs and telcos install their own kit in telephone exchanges to provide services direct to end users while by-passing BT - is on the verge of taking off in the UK. According to the latest figures there are around 125,000 unbundled lines in the UK with an extra 4,000 being added each week.