Broadband and phone company Be has announced the unbundling of its 500th exchange. The company now covers 33 per cent of UK households.

Be is one of numerous companies who took advantage of Local Loop Unbundling, LLU. By signing up with an operator like Be, you pay the company for your line rental as well as call and broadband costs, rather than receiving a bill from BT.

The company is owned by mobile operator O2 .

"We don't think of broadband as just something to throw in for free," says Matthew Key, CEO of O2 UK. "We are working at unbundling 200 more exchanges by June, and we are already testing new technologies that will enhance the network and our speed."

The company also recently launched the Annex M standard for its Be Office business offering. Annex M increases the upload speed to a potential 2.5Mbps, rather than the slow upload speeds seen in the past. Be also says it will soon be offering Annex M to home users.

Be was among the first operators to adopt the faster ADSL2 technology. It says its on target to unbundle over 800 exchanges by the end of the summer, giving 50 per cent coverage of the UK population.