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New figures from Ofcom show that half of households in the UK could immediately enjoy faster broadband without paying extra by switching to a better deal or supplier, but many are failing to do this.

It found that while 94 per cent of UK homes and offices can now get superfast broadband, less than half have taken it up. Therefore, the telecoms regulator has unveiled a series of measures to encourage consumers to shop around for the best offer and ensure they can enjoy the fastest possible services.

Among the initiatives will be plans that will require broadband providers to inform customers when they are nearing the end of their contract and alert them about what their best deals are.

From next year, suppliers must do this when any discounted deal customers are on is coming to an end, and also every year for longstanding customers who have stayed with them.

Recent research by uSwitch has calculated that sending end of contract notices in a timely manner could save consumers in the UK more than £1 billion a year by encouraging them to look for a better deal.

Ofcom noted that around four million households that still use basic broadband have passed their initial contract period and could switch to superfast for the same – or less – than they currently pay.

The regulator will also be reviewing pricing practices across the market to ensure that customers are getting the best deal. It expressed concern that some customers are paying more than others for similar or worse services, particularly when introductory offers have passed. 

For example, it estimated that customers who take a landline and broadband service together are paying an average of 19 per cent more once their discounted deal has expired.

Sharon White, Chief Executive at the organisation, said: "We're concerned that many loyal broadband customers aren't getting the best deal they could. So we’re reviewing broadband pricing practices and ensuring customers get clear, accurate information from their provider about the best deals they offer."

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