Wanadoo launches unbundled broadband

Super-fast broadband from Wanadoo is now available in Leeds, with more locations on the way

Competition in the UK's broadband market is growing, with several ISPs gearing up to install their own kit in BT's local exchanges.

Wanadoo announced on Tuesday that it is now offering its own broadband services in Leeds, after unbundling 16 exchanges. This allows customers in the area to buy an 8Mbps service from Wanadoo. This is four times as fast as BT's own broadband, which Wanadoo will continue to sell.

"This marks the transition from Wanadoo from being a virtual ISP to becoming a network operator with its own national network infrastructure and systems," said a company spokesman.

Wanadoo is planning to unbundle a total of 150 BT exchanges in metropolitan areas around the UK.

The move comes just days after Carphone Warehouse announced it is planning to spend up to £15m on its own unbundled network. With one unconfirmed report claiming that AOL is also close to kicking off its own unbundling plans, BT finds itself facing a phalanx of rivals eager to break its dominance of the wholesale ADSL broadband market.

But unbundling isn't without problems. Bulldog, one of the few ISPs to pioneer LLU over the last few years, suffered serious failures this summer when many users were unable to get the service they had paid for.

Bulldog claims these issues have been resolved, but customers contacted by ZDNet UK claim to still be suffering problems.

Wanadoo declined to comment on Bulldog's problems but indicated that relations with BT were going well at present.