asked Her Majesty's Government:In how many local exchanges local loop unbundling is currently taking place; and how this compares with the situation amongst other European Union states. [HL563]
BT has handed over facilities enabling local loop unbundling at four trial exchanges and services are being provided over BT's exchange lines by other operators at two of them. In preparation for further local loop unbundling, nearly 700 exchanges have been surveyed by BT, though it is ultimately up to individual operators where they place orders for unbundling facilities. It was agreed last month that BT would bring forward work on unbundling at the most popular exchanges and building work at the first of those exchanges should start before Easter. Requests for "distant location", where an operator locates its equipment outside the local exchange, are going forward on a business as usual basis with BT.
Comprehensive current data on unbundling in other European Union states are not available. Germany is the only country with a significant amount of unbundling and achieved around 150,000 lines in nearly three years from January 1998.