Unbundling (aka Local Loop Unbundling) refers to the practice of forcing dominant network owners (those who control a majority of the network infrastructure) to share, lease or sell portions of the network connections to smaller competitors. Unbundling is an issue in the public / private debate concerning who controls the internet, and more generally all wired telecommunications.
In the United States, unbundling policies have enjoyed government approval since the adoption of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Their adoption is part of an effort to encourage greater competition among telecommunications companies.
Unbundling can also refer to the digital delivery of media content online as opposed to on a physical disk. For this definition see Media Unbundling.