Competition in the UK's broadband market has reached a new milestone, according to the latest stats from industry regulator Ofcom released today, which showed that the number of unbundled lines has now reached the six million mark.
Local loop unbundling, the process of allowing multiple telecoms firms to connect from the exchange to customers' homes using BT's local lines, was given a massive boost in 2005 after Ofcom agreed a set of legally-binding Undertakings with BT.
The number of households and small businesses with broadband has since risen from 37 per cent to 65 per cent today, with more than 30 different companies providing unbundled services, said Ofcom.
The regulator today argued that greater competition has not only encouraged broadband take up but also lowered prices for end users – from an average of £23.30 a month in 2005 to £13.61 today.
Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said: "In just four years unbundling has gone from a flicker on the dial to a major competitive force in telecoms. This has delivered the dual benefits of driving up broadband take-up and driving down prices."
However, James Parker, broadband manager at comparison site moneysupermarket.com, said there is still some way to go.
“The number of LLU lines is rapidly increasing, but there are still plenty of rural areas in the UK where consumers are forced to pay a premium for not living near enough to an unbundled exchange," he added.
"The government’s Digital Britain report has shown the importance of broadband access for all and we hope Ofcom continue to advance the LLU commitment.”
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