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UK broadband consumers will be able to switch broadband providers more easily after Ofcom made a number of changes to its regulations.

The communications watchdog has implemented new European telecoms law, meaning internet service providers (ISPs) will no longer be able to tie subscribers to lengthy contracts.

Following the changes, the tie in period for new phone or broadband contracts will be limited to a maximum of 24 months.

In addition, new broadband subscribers must also be offered a contract option lasting no longer than 12 months.

Ofcom said shorter contracts were likely to promote competition and enable consumers to benefit from more attractive broadband prices and services.

Ed Richards, Chief Executive at the media regulator, said the changes would have significant benefits for end users.

"[The new regime] will make it easier for consumers to take advantage of the wide range of competition in the UK communications market," he stated.

Back in March, it was reported that Ofcom was considering banning rolling broadband deals, which enable ISPs to tie consumers in for another 12-18 months if they fail to cancel their contract within a required time frame.

Consumer group Which? has been a vociferous opponent of rolling contracts, claiming that "the burden of actively opting out of a contract on the consumer is unfair".

Ceri Stanaway, a broadband expert with the organisation, said it was great news that Ofcom has taken action to ban this practice.

"Phone and broadband companies should focus on offering great value [broadband packages] with top-notch customer service, so that their customers are happy to stay with them voluntarily," she stated.

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