Cheaper broadband ahoy!

We're not mad keen on their hush-hush little sit-down with record companies to work out how to close down file-sharing sites (see story from earlier today), but we do like the zeal with which telecoms regulator Ofcom is attacking high prices. A couple of weeks ago they ensured cheaper mobile phone calls by cutting the fees operators could charge each other for switching calls between networks. And now, they're promising cheaper broadband by cutting the rate BT is allowed to charge other providers using their pipes.

If you're on Virgin Media like us, your broadband is billed by the same company that laid and owns your tubes. And the same is true if you're on BT broadband. But if you're on Talk Talk, Sky, PlusNet, or a host of other smaller broadband providers, then you're getting your internet from one company which is actually paying BT for the use of their pipes. (It's a bit like how, when you change your gas or electricity provider, the actual physical gas and electricity coming to your house doesn't change.)

What Ofcom's doing is cutting the fee BT can charge these other providers. The BBC has the gory details, but suffice to say the price of broadband for customers of these companies could drop by 10% - if, that is, the companies decide to pass their savings onto customers.

Not bad eh? Those pesky government regulators are good for something.

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