BT has cut the migration charge for broadband service providers who sign up customers from their rivals, a move which could boost competition in the broadband market.
The telco is also making it cheaper for service providers to move their existing customer base from a BT IPStream-based service to one based on BT DataStream, allowing operators to offer services over their own network rather than buying capacity from BT.
Migration prices will fall to £11 per end user from 1 May.
The cost of switching a customer from one BT IPStream-based supplier to another was previously £35 per end user, while the cost of moving a customer from a BT IPStream-based service to one based on BT DataStream was £50 per end user.
The price changes were proposed by regulator Ofcom which investigated a dispute between BT, Tiscali and Thus.
Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter said in a statement: "Migration charges can be an obstacle to fair competition. At this price, with robust processes, they should no longer be such an obstacle."
Tiscali gave the decision a guarded welcome. "We are pleased with the outcome," said Mary Turner, chief executive at Tiscali UK. "The new £11 migration charge is in line with the figures that Tiscali has given to Ofcom and the Trade and Industry Select Committee enquiry in recent months.
"The price, however, is only the first hurdle, and the success of today's decision depends largely on the outcome of the margin setting between IPStream and DataStream [due in May].
"We look forward to BT supporting today's announcement with an efficient migration process for customers, and would hope that Ofcom will now look at the activation fee, which is still far too high at £50."
John Pluthero, chief executive at Energis, which is also set to benefit from the change, said in a statement: "We've been calling for the migration charge for broadband to be set at a realistic level for a long time.
"This is a step in the right direction towards wholesale broadband competition - but there is still a long way to go."
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