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Rural parts of the UK could receive cheaper broadband services under a plan unveiled by the communications regulator.

Ofcom has proposed significant reductions in the prices BT Wholesale can charge rival internet service providers (ISP) to use its network in areas where it has a monopoly.

Most of these locations are in the UK countryside, meaning households and businesses in rural areas could stand to benefit.

Ofcom has called for price reductions of between 10.75 per cent and 14.75 per cent, paving the way for increased competition between ISPs - and potentially more affordable broadband deals.

"The changes may also lead to better quality services by enabling ISPs to allocate more bandwidth per customer which could deliver faster broadband services," the regulator added.

It claimed that parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the south-west of England, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland would be the principle beneficiaries.

Ofcom is not proposing any change to the wholesale pricing structure where local loop unbundling exists, claiming there is already sufficient competition between broadband providers.

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