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Consumers wishing to switch to a broadband bundle with an alternative provider could be given greater flexibility after BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media announced plans to slash home phone cancellation charges.

Media regulator Ofcom, which has been working with the internet service providers over the last 18 months to reduce early termination charges, says reductions of up to 85 per cent will come into force.

From now on, home phone providers must charge a cancellation fee which reflects the savings they will make by no longer providing the landline connection.

Ofcom says that under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations 1999, consumers who end contracts early should never have to pay more than the payments left under the contract.

A spokesperson for the regulator stated: "Ofcom expects other landline providers to apply similar principles and to reduce their early termination charges to similar levels."

"If they don't, they could face formal enforcement action."

Ofcom's Partner for Strategy and Market Developments, Peter Phillips, said the reductions made by BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media are "very much welcomed".

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