Ofcom Looking to Cut UK Broadband Charges

If you’re feeling the pinch as you watch the price of being online slowly creeps up then you’ll be glad to know that Ofcom has got your back.

The telecoms regulator has revised the list of rates that Openreach, which manages BT’s network, can charge other providers for using its services – this could force the wholesale price to drop by more than 10% per year!

It’s not going to make any difference to me as a Virgin customer as they use their own cable network – but those of you on TalkTalk and Sky should see your bills get smaller 🙂

Ofcom are looking at two ways in particular that service providers access BT’s networks.

Local Loop Unbundling allows telecoms firms to site their equipment in BT exchanges and take over lines to customers.

Ofcom wants the price Openreach charges when an operator takes over these lines completely to drop by between 1.2 and 4.2% every year. Where lines are shared it wants prices to drop by between 11.6 and 14.6% every year. To illustrate the potential numbers affected, Ofcom said there were about 7.6 million unbundled lines in the UK.

The second, called Wholesale Line Rental, involves telecoms firms simply renting lines from Openreach. Ofcom wants the prices of these to drop by between 3.1 and 6.1% every year. There are about 6.14 million WLR lines in the UK.

These proposals are the start of a consultation process that will end on 9 June. The conclusions of the consultation will be published in the autumn.

“Ofcom expects its proposed prices to lead to real term price reductions for consumers, as communications providers pass on savings to their landline and broadband customers,”

Don’t expect an immediate drop in your service prices though – it is predicted that any repricing would come into effect towards the end of 2011 but wont be in place until March 2014. I’ll be looking at the deals then 😉

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