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Rural broadband prices capped, Web-savvy farmers rejoice

Ofcom is forcing BT to cap its wholesale broadband prices in rural parts, hopefully resulting in individual ISPs charging more competitive rates for country customers.

Ofcom, the telecoms watchdog, is forcing BT to cap the price of wholesale broadband to Internet service providers which, in theory, will allow them to offer cheaper broadband to rural customers who want good Web service but don't have pockets full of gold.

The reduction of the price is to be 12 per cent below inflation. While this doesn't necessarily mean broadband access will be cheaper -- there's no limit on how much an individual ISP can charge for its services -- Ofcom is hoping ISPs will compete with each other to offer a more affordable service, leading to many happy, Web-savvy country-dwellers.

The rural areas in question include the South-West of England, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Northumberland as well as other rural areas across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The scheme may also result in a faster service, as customers can be allocated a higher bandwidth limit.

Ofcom's regulations aim to lend a hand to the government's plans of increasing business growth in rural areas by providing better and more affordable services.

The charging caps will come into effect next month. We're hoping for a flood of countryside residents on our official Facebook page chattering happily about how much spare cash they have, and maybe offering us some spare fruit and veg (that'd be lovely, thank you).