Ofcom has unveiled a series of broadband proposals designed to give customers on superfast services greater choice in the market, most notably a fall in the cost of switching provider by 80 percent.
Currently it costs around £50 for Openreach to switch a customer from one network to another on superfast services, a fee that is usually passed on to the consumer. However, under the proposals outlined today this would fall to between £10 and £15.
Another notable change is for the minimum contracts that can be offered to superfast customers to fall from a year to one month. Ofcom said this would allow telecoms operators to offer flexible contracts to customers.
"The proposals are designed to promote competition in the superfast broadband market at the wholesale level," Ofcom said in the consultation document. "These would be expected to flow through to consumer benefits in the form of lower retail prices and easier switching between superfast broadband providers."
Ofcom also wants BT to reduce the time it takes to carry out repairs of its Openreach network, warning that sanctions could be taken against the firm if it fails to meet targets.
“Some operators have expressed concern about the time it can take for Openreach to complete this work at their customers’ premises,” it said. “Today’s review therefore proposes to require Openreach to meet specific performance standards for new line installations and fault repairs. Sanctions may apply if performance falls below these new standards.”
BT said it was pleased with the proposals from Ofcom, adding that they would ensure it could continue to offer good customer choice.
"BT has already accepted a long payback period for its fibre deployment, and its wholesale fibre prices – which are amongst the lowest in Europe – reflect this,” the firm said.
"Openreach is committed to delivering high levels of customer service. Openreach is already highly transparent in its service level reporting to industry and agrees this detail should be shared with consumers and businesses."
The document also sets out an intention to maintain the pricing structures in place for the fees BT can charge for access to its network, which BT sets itself.
The secretary general of the industry body, the Internet Service Providers Assocation (ISPA), Nicholas Lansman, said anything that could encourage uptake of superfast services was to be welcomed.
“ISPA will look at the proposals in detail, and look forward to working with Ofcom and our members on this," he said.
"We welcome any attempt to bring more people and businesses the benefits of superfast, and look forward to seeing the superfast market becoming more competitive"
The consultation document from Ofcom is open for responses until 25 September.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago