Be, the UK internet service provider owned by Telefonica O2, has gone into the wholesale business.
Be Wholesale officially launched on Tuesday, although it has been quietly acquiring around 30 ISP customers over the last 18 months, starting with the business provider Andrews & Arnold. According to Be, its network is able to reach over 70 percent of mainland businesses.
As well as providing connectivity for resale by smaller ISPs, Be will also offer services directly to large corporate customers, it said at a launch event in London. "Our network was built for broadband — it's been ADSL2+ from the start," Be Wholesale chief Dan Cunliffe said at the launch. "There are no compatibility issues."
Cunliffe added that Be offers upload speeds of 1.3Mbps or 2.5Mbps. "Even on our entry level product, we can deliver 30 percent [higher upload speeds] than the competition," he said, noting that Be's network also had 30 percent unused capacity and does "not impose any artificial [network] management]".
According to Cunliffe, Be Wholesale has around 1,300 exchanges around the UK, and will have more than 1,400 in a year's time. He said the company was also looking at fibre, but "now is not the right time for us to do it".
O2's wholesaler is entering a market with a limited number of competitors that have their own networks. BT is its largest rival, followed by TalkTalk and Cable & Wireless, but Virgin does not wholesale its network.