Ofcom sets out its thinking for 2019Sarah Shepherd
Ofcom this week published its Proposed Annual Plan 2019/ 20 Making Communications work for everyone. The final plan will be published in March 2019 following consultation which will run until February 8th.
Priorities will be focused around ensuring universal availability for both broadband and mobile coverage; looking to strengthen public service broadcasting; protecting consumers against unfair pricing; and investigating the scope for regulation of harmful online content.
2019 will see Ofcom designate broadband Universal Service Providers and set out the conditions that will apply to them in accordance with the legislation laid earlier this year providing for access to high speed broadband being a legal right. Focus will also be on improving mobile coverage both indoors and rurally, and the measuring and reporting to consumers.
Ofcom intends to support investment in fibre networks and expects that the completion of the Physical Infrastructure Market Review will see the introduction of unrestricted duct and pole access in the first half of the year.
As more people go online, and an increasing amount of time is spent using the internet, Ofcom is looking into consumer protection measures – from contracts to protecting against harmful content online. The place for PSB’s in the online world is also a priority for Ofcom with their thinking on the prominence regime to be published shortly.
Finally, continuing their work on communications providers moving from PSTN to an all-IP world, Ofcom will be looking beyond generally protecting consumers from harm and minimising disruption to investigating a better solution for number portability. The second half of the year will see the testing of a new approach to telephone number management in lieu of a UK-wide number database.