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The battle to fix Britain's internet heats up

And gamers are in the firing line.

Some of the biggest internet providers in the UK have ganged up to try and force through better internet in Britain - and it's calling on gamers to have their say.

Ofcom, the industry regulator, has launched a public consultation on whether Openreach should no longer be owned by BT and it wants to know what the public think.

Nearly every broadband provider in Britain depends on the national network, Openreach. Critics say BT hasn't done enough to maintain it, despite being paid billions to do so. They say millions of homes and businesses don't have the fast, reliable internet they need.

The coalition of internet providers includes Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone. Now, you can see why these companies would want Ofcom to force BT to split off Openreach - they rely on the infrastructure provided to sell internet to people. In contrast, Virgin Media, which has its own infrastructure, is not a part of the coalition.

BT has kept Openreach reliant on copper rather than investing in state of the art pure fibre, the coalition has said. Copper is slower and less reliable than the fibre used by the likes of Virgin Media.

Fast and reliable internet is obviously important to gamers. It helps when we're playing online, but in a world where day one patches are increasingly massive, and more and more people are downloading games instead of buying discs in shops, superfast broadband is a huge time saver.

Mindful of this, the coalition, with its Fix Britain's Internet campaign, has called on gamers to get in touch with Ofcom to push for Openreach going it alone.

The Fix Britain's Internet campaign is heating up - and BT isn't happy.

"Gamers rely on Openreach, but as research reveals, they are let down every day and struggle to get the internet speeds they need," the Fix Britain's Internet campaign said.

"For the first time, they have the power to make a difference."

TalkTalk is trialing an incredibly fast internet in York, called Ultra Fibre Optic (UFO) Broadband - yes, UFO Broadband. Well done, TalkTalk.

The speed of it is incredible, though: it's around 1Gb, which is roughly 100 times faster than standard broadband speeds. You'll get download speeds of up to 940MB, which means you can download a HD movie in about 30 seconds.

It's easy to see why this kind of speed would be brilliant for gamers and the video game industry. I certainly would be more willing to take a punt on downloading a triple-A game if it took just a minute to do so. And if it were that quick, I'd be more willing to delete games from my harddrive, safe in the knowledge I could re-download it later in the time it takes to put the kettle on.

Meanwhile, TalkTalk, Sky and Vodafone's attempt to orchestrate a consumer backlash against BT continues apace. Last month Ofcom ordered only that Openreach becomes a legally separate entity inside BT with its own board - not that it splits off. Rivals are said to be furious.

For its part, BT has said the Fix Britain's Internet campaign is misleading consumers.

Ofcom's consultation runs until the middle of September.