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Leading broadband provider BT should be required to share access to its underground ducts and telegraph poles with its rivals.

This is the view of media regulator Ofcom, which is attempting to ensure there is sufficient competition in the UK's next-generation broadband market.

According to Ofcom, allowing access would enable other internet service providers to rollout services in areas not currently serviced by BT's fibre network.

This could also enable consumers and businesses living in some areas of the country to receive fibre broadband at an earlier stage than if they wait for BT to extend the scope of its network, the regulator said.

Ofcom stated: "The economic case for duct and pole access should improve as the market for super-fast broadband develops."

Ed Richards, Chief Executive of the regulator, noted that the development of the UK's super-fast broadband future is "well underway" with the roll-out of services in large parts of the country.

He commented: "Ofcom has finalised a clear regulatory framework to promote investment, competition and innovation to enable as many consumers as possible to benefit from these exciting new services."

Last month, BT reported that 15 million households in the UK are subscribed to a broadband deal delivered using its network technology. 

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