The proposed reductions relate to 'partial private circuits' (PPCs), which enable independent operators to use the BT network to deliver broadband lines to businesses.
Under Oftel's latest proposals, business broadband providers already using PPCs will receive a refund for the cost difference between the current rates and the new, reduced rates, backdated to last April.
David Edmonds, Director General of Telecommunications, said: "This package of measures should ensure that business consumers, from small local businesses to large city firms, see the full benefits of competition in the leased lines market.
"Businesses will benefit from wider choice and lower prices for leased lines services. Greater use by businesses of high-speed services will increase their competitiveness and bring many benefits to the wider economy."
The proposals follow an investigation of the leased line market by Oftel earlier this year. The investigation found BT's wholesale charges for leased line services were 'too high' and that 'prices should be reduced to reflect costs.'
The poor geographical availability of broadband services for businesses outside major cities remains a major factor in the UK's record of slow take-up when compared to other European countries.
Stephen Timms, the e-commerce Minister, announced a special UK 'broadband team' charged with increasing both availability and take-up of broadband in the regions in June.
Mr Timms said at the time: "There are still too many people, especially in rural areas, who cannot access affordable broadband. The new broadband unit and its network of advisors will use the public sector's spending power to boost availability and take-up in these unconnected areas."
Richard Dodd, spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry, said: "Business broadband coverage in the UK is improving, but momentum must not be allowed to stagnate."
Richard Powell, © Shout99.com 2002