BT has been told to speed up the schedule for publishing the prices it intends to charge rival internet service providers (ISPs) for use of its infrastructure.

An Ofcom ruling means the telecoms giant must allow its competitors to utilise its network of underground ducts and telegraph poles to deploy fibre optic broadband cables.

In a speech at the Royal Television Society's Cambridge Convention, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt hit out at BT for taking too long to reach a "satisfactory conclusion" on its pricing structure.

The matter "has to be sorted out - and quickly - in a way that allows fair competition with different providers able to invest in our broadband infrastructure", Mr Hunt insisted.

He went on to stress the importance of the UK having a "properly competitive" retail market for fibre optic broadband.

In April, rival ISPs TalkTalk and Virgin Media wrote to the government demanding "urgent intervention" on the prices BT intends to charge for infrastructure access.

The companies claimed it would be cheaper to construct their own networks than to take BT up on its proposed charges.

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