Areas with local loop unbundling (LLU) often have narrower broadband coverage than those served by a single broadband provider, it has been suggested.
Research conducted by Imperial College London (ICL) on behalf of Ofcom indicated that the presence of multiple broadband providers does not necessary help eliminate network 'not-spots'.
In LLU areas, the incumbent telecoms operator - in many cases BT - opens up its telephone exchanges to rival broadband providers.
They are able to install their own kit and provide broadband deals to homes and businesses, increasing competition in the market and putting downward pressure on prices.
Among the providers to deliver broadband packages using LLU are Sky, TalkTalk and Be Broadband.
Speaking to Computer World UK, Professor Tommaso Valletti of ICL noted that broadband penetration is "on a positive trend".
"However, what's very intriguing is that over and above this increasing trend, areas with LLU have lower penetration levels than those without," he stated.
"The raw difference was that in areas with LLU, broadband penetration is two per cent less."