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BT could be forced to drop wholesale broadband prices
Telecoms watchdog Ofcom has said the company may have to lower its charges in areas where it is the only wholesale broadband provider.Ofcom has unveiled proposals to significantly reduce the amount BT Wholesale can charge its rivals for access to its broadband infrastructure.
The measure would affect parts of the country in which the telecoms giant is the sole provider of wholesale broadband, with many of these being in rural regions.
Under the plans, current prices would fall by between 10.75 and 14.75 per cent below the rate of inflation.
According to Ofcom, almost 12 per cent of UK households - representing around three million properties - stand to take advantage of this development.
"Ofcom expects competition between retail [internet service providers], who will benefit from the lower wholesale prices, to lead to reductions in retail prices which will benefit consumers," the organisation explained.
The news comes just days after BT announced it is investing £1 million to improve broadband speeds in rural parts of Northern Ireland, with 40 street cabinets across the country set to be upgraded by April 2011.