By Jonathan Davies

Ofcom is planning to force BT to allow rivals broadband and mobile providers to use its fibre-optic network.

A report by the regulator said it would allow for greater competition and reduction of broadband prices for businesses and homes.

If the plans are approved, they are likely to be brought in by April 2017.

Ofcom wants to overhaul the leased network lines market, worth £2 billion in the UK, for businesses, universities libraries and other public bodies. Currently, BT owns around £1.35bn of that market.

“Our proposals are intended to allow BT to protect its investment by making a fair return, while boosting competition and innovation among different operators,” Ofcom said.

Unsurprisingly, BT criticised the plans. The telecoms giant said they risk undermining its investment in its networks.

TalkTalk, one of the companies that would stand to benefit from the changes, said: “It’s good to see that Ofcom is taking regulation of the business telecoms market seriously. For too long BT has been able to get away with delivering poor service to Britain’s businesses at inflated prices and these recommendations will help drive competition into the commercial market and improve the service they receive.”