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sharon white ofcom

Sharon White, the CEO of communications regulator Ofcom, has warned that the broadband market needs greater competition and less consolidation.

Her comments, made during a speech at the Hong Kong Theatre at the London School of Economics, come amid several merger deals within the industry, including BT's move to merge with mobile firm EE.

While Ofcom has claimed that deal can be completed using current regulation, there are still concerns over whether other deals will have a negative impact on competition within the industry.

White cited the move proposed merger by O2 and Three UK, which according to the Competition Markets Authority (CMA)  “threatens to significantly [affect] competition”.

And the Ofcom boss, who has been in the position for six months, fears that similar behaviour in the broadband market could harm competition.   

She said: “Companies here and abroad are racing to provide landline, mobile, broadband and TV products in a single package, over converging fixed and wireless networks.

"This can bring convenience and lower prices for consumers, who can get everything they want in one bundle without having to take out different contracts with different providers.

"But we are seeing evidence that customers are less likely to switch providers, which could dampen competitive pressure."

White added that "competition, not consolidation, drives investment and delivers low prices".

She continued by stating that coverage needed to be improved for consumers and businesses.

“First, there are hundreds of thousands of people and businesses who have poor or no access to services for reasons of geography or affordability," she added.

"This is clearly unacceptable when communications are essential to how we live and work. Making services universal is a key priority for Ofcom and we are working closely with the Government and industry to make this happen."

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