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Levels of broadband provider competition have increased by 12 per cent in rural areas over the past three years, Ofcom has claimed.

Publishing its consultation on the Wholesale Broadband Access review - which considers competition in the market for wholesale broadband products - the media regulator noted that more service providers have unbundled lines on BT's network.

As such, "effective competition" has grown in the last three years from 78 per cent to 90 per cent.

Ofcom is proposing no regulation in this area, although it is seeking to impose regulation including a charge control on BT's services in the remaining ten per cent of the UK.

This is with a view to encouraging more broadband providers to use BT's wholesale network to offer services to businesses and households in rural areas.

Marie-Louise Abretti, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, said the 12 per cent rise in levels of competition since 2010 is "very promising indeed".

"Until recently, those in more isolated areas have had to take what they can get," she stated.

"But more choice means being able to shop around to cut the cost of broadband and home phone bills or to get a better speed."

Ms Abretti said this is something that customers in urban areas may take for granted - but it is an area in which rural households have been left behind.

Over the past few years, BT has been upgrading local telephone exchanges around the UK in order to provide the infrastructure required for super-fast broadband.

The company is making an investment of £2.5 billion in fibre services, in order to give businesses and households the option of signing up for faster download and upload speeds.

BT has also signed contracts to deploy fibre infrastructure in many remote parts of the UK, using public funding delivered to local authorities via Broadband Delivery UK.

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