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BT and other broadband providers face clampdown over pricing under new Ofcom rules

Ofcom has launched a review into broadband pricing practices over concerns customers are paying more than they should

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BT’s Openreach network has committed to spending billions of pounds on fibre broadband

Broadband providers BT Group PLC (LON:BT), Virgin Media, Sky PLC (LON:SKY) and TalkTalk PLC (LON:TALK) will be forced to notify customers about their best deals under proposed new rules from the telecoms watchdog.

Ofcom announced the new measures as it launched a review into broadband pricing practices over concerns customers are paying more than they should. The regulator posted figures that showed 94% of homes and offices can get superfast broadband but less than half have taken it up.

 About four million households on basic broadband have passed their initial contract period and could switch to superfast for the same, or less money than they currently pay.

READ: BT's EE and Virgin Media fined £13.3mln for overcharging customers with early exit fees

Ofcom found customers on a combined landline and broadband contract are paying an average of 19% more once their discounted deal has expired.

Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, 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."

Ofcom plans to implement rules that will make broadband, mobile, landline and pay-TV providers alert customers about the best deal they can offer when any discounted deal comes to an end. Companies will also need to let longstanding customers know each year about the best tariffs.

BT’s Openreach network has committed to spending billions of pounds on upgrading the UK’s broadband infrastructure with faster and more reliable fibre optics. It hopes to recoup the money from customers but it faces competition from other networks rolling out fibre broadband – such as CityFibre and Vodafone –along with stricter regulation. 

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