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Ofcom to make superfast fibre broadband switch cheaper, targets BT

Proposal aims to reduce switching cost by 80 percent and reduce contract lengths

Broadband advisor

Ofcom has announced proposals to create more competition in the superfast broadband market and make it easier for customers to switch.

The telecoms regulator wants the cost of switching from one superfast fibre broadband provider to another to be 80 percent cheaper. A switching fee of typically £50 to BT Openreach, normally passed on to the consumer, will be reduced to around £10-15. See also: EE announces shared 4G contracts and NFC mobile payments.

Ofcom said: "The proposals are designed to promote competition in the superfast broadband market at the wholesale level. These would be expected to flow through to consumer benefits in the form of lower retail prices and easier switching between superfast broadband providers."

The watchdog also wants the minimum length of a wholesale contract between BT and the new supplier to be reduced from a year to just one month. This would allow providers to offer shorter contracts to customers.

Further targeting BT, which allows other internet service providers (ISP) to use it network, Ofcom plans to keep tabs on the performance of its Openreach network access division. If the plans go through BT will have to meet performance standards for new line installations and repairing faults.

"As the fibre roll out continues across the UK we are slowly overcoming the problem of lack of availability, which has to date been the biggest hurdle stopping customers from accessing superfast broadband. Ofcom’s proposals help address this, and we expect to see the number of households able to get superfast services to increase considerably over the next 12-18 months." said Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

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