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A new Ofcom report has concluded that BT's Openreach division has significantly increased competition in the broadband marketplace.

Openreach was set up in 2006 following Ofcom recommendations and serves to increase competition in the marketplace by allowing third-party internet providers to connect their own equipment to BT exchanges in order to supply its customers.

This practice is known as unbundling and allows providers to either take full control of the BT line, or shared unbundling, where the line is maintained in partnership with BT.

Ofcom explains that there are now more than four million fully or shared unbundled lines throughout the UK.

The telecoms regulator concludes that since its inception, the Openreach department has overseen a "transformation" in the UK marketplace, with customers now able to gain a higher level of service at a more competitive price.

Openreach describes itself as the "proud guardians of the nation's local access network", which is sometimes referred to as the first mile.

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