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This morning brought news that Ofcom could be about to lift restrictions which ban BT from offering quad play packages. Previously this had been verboten on the grounds that the company's dominant position in the fixed line market would provide it with an unfair advantage over rival ISPs.

Whatever you think of the decision, you can be sure that the competition won’t be best pleased. After all quad band packages have been a substanital growth area in recent years for the likes of Virgin Media and BSkyB. But it's an especially tough blow given that it comes on the back of further developments that will impact on the business models of UK broadband providers.

Earlier this month, for instance, they were told that BT is to be free to set charges for other networks to use its telephone lines. This ended years in which there were state-imposed restrictions on charges.

One thing we can be sure of is that the consumer will be the real winner from Ofcom's change of heart over quad play. If only because more competition in the quad play market will mean cheaper deals for us all. But how this leaves the ISPs who pioneered such bundles as they face up to a Marianas Trench-deep recession is a different matter altogether.

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