Communications regulator Ofcom has forced BT to hand over 1.5 million of its telephone lines to competitors, further opening up the UK broadband market.

BT loses 1.5 million lines

The move is an attempt to instil a greater level of competition into the sector, while BT’s compliance in relinquishing its monopoly will earn it the right to cut its broadband prices and give it the chance to compete with lower priced offers from rival firms. The process of handing over control is known as local loop unbundling, and has been criticised by some providers – while others such as Carphone Warehouse have benefited from it.

BT – perhaps unexpectedly – has celebrated the relaxation of its own stranglehold as a success, claiming that the unbundling process puts the UK at the forefront of the broadband innovation. “This is a fantastic achievement for the whole of the industry and demonstrates that the UK has one of the most competitive broadband markets in the world,” said Steve Robertson, chief executive of BT Openreach.

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