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Ofcom has proposed new measures to promote competition among super-fast broadband providers.

Under the media regulator's plans, the wholesale cost of switching a customer from one supplier to another would fall by up to 80 per cent.

In addition, the minimum length of the wholesale contract between BT and the customer's new broadband provider would be reduced from a year to just one month.

Ofcom says the proposals are designed to promote increased competition at the wholesale level, which should have benefits for customers in terms of lower prices and an easier switching process.

At present, broadband providers can retail their own super-fast services over BT’s network under a process known as virtual unbundled local access.

When this was introduced in 2010, there were fewer than 100,000 super-fast broadband connections on the BT network. However, this figure has now risen to 1.4 million, and continues to increase week by week.

If a consumer wishes to change to a super-fast broadband provider, the company they are switching to must pay a £50 fee to Openreach.

And according to Ofcom, this charge is often passed on to the customer. As such, the regulator is proposing to reduce this fee to between £10 and £15, helping to keep consumer costs low.

However, Ofcom said it is wary of undermining the investment case for rolling out fibre across the UK.

"The price of fibre broadband is currently constrained by the availability of standard broadband services, and by competition from Virgin Media’s super-fast cable network," Ofcom stated.

With this in mind, the regulator has proposed maintaining a requirement that BT’s charges for access to its fibre network are "fair and reasonable".

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