Broadband customers have more choice than ever

Ofcom says LLU broadband has made the industry more competitive and brought down prices for Britain's bill payers.

Britain's broadband market gives customers more choice than ever, Ofcom has claimed.

According to the communications regulator, the level of competition between broadband providers has reached an all-time high, with the number of 'unbundled' lines nationwide having recently passed nine million.

Local loop unbundling (LLU) is a process that allows providers to offer broadband services using BT's telephone network. LLU providers include TalkTalk and Sky.

Nine million unbundled lines represents a 70-fold increase since the LLU process began in 2005, when Ofcom ordered BT to set up Openreach, a separate local networks division.

Back then, there were just 123,000 unbundled lines in the whole of the country.

Ofcom said: "Competition means lower bills for consumers. At the end of 2005, UK consumers were paying on average £23.60 a month for a broadband service delivered over a copper line. Today they are paying around £13.11 for the same kind of service."

Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk, added: "There has never been a better time to be a broadband customer in the UK.

"The market is intensely competitive and with more and more providers innovating to win business, it all results in a better service and better pricing for customers."

Competition is also said to be "taking hold" in the relatively new market for 'superfast' broadband, or fibre optic broadband as it's more technically known.

Virgin Media's fibre optic broadband is now available to more than two million UK households, and the nearest BT equivalent - provided by BT itself as well as rivals including Sky and TalkTalk - has so far reached 15 million properties.

According to Ofcom's latest figures, at least 13% of home broadband connections are now superfast and able to deliver speeds of at least 30Mb.

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