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Competition in the consumer broadband market is continuing to increase, helping to drive down costs, it has been reported.

According to a new report from Ofcom, the number of unbundled lines in the UK - where rival internet service providers (ISPs) offer web services over BT's copper telephone network - now exceeds seven million.

Back in 2005, when BT agreed to allow network access to rival companies, there were just 123,000 unbundled lines and a lack of competition in the broadband market.

Ofcom reports that there are now 19 million broadband lines in the UK, with 30 different ISPs active in the domestic market.

Five years ago, just 37 per cent of households and businesses had broadband access but this figure has now increased to 71 per cent.

And, according to Ofcom, the average monthly broadband bill – for services delivered over a copper line - has dropped from £23.30 per month excluding VAT to just £13.31.

BT is currently spending up to £2.5 billion carrying out upgrade work to its national internet infrastructure in a bid to offer next-generation broadband services to UK consumers.

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