European Electronic Communications CodeGulistan Ladha
Government has set out how it will bring the EECC into UK law. The code largely consists of changes to the existing legal framework but government will also bring in some new pro-investment measures from the code that are in the UK’s national interest and support its plans for nationwide gigabit broadband. Other measures give people and businesses greater consumer protection and Ofcom will be granted a series of new powers.
Summary of the key changes:
Network forecasting – Ofcom will have new information-gathering powers on operators’ planned network rollout. This information will be shared with government to allow better targeting of public investment in poorly-connected areas. It will also publish non-confidential data about where rollout is not planned to help inform industry investment.
Focus on gigabit-capable networks – Ofcom will have a broad duty to promote connectivity, access to, and take-up of gigabit-capable networks to help the UK realise its full digital potential.
Promoting cooperation and competition in hard to reach places – in areas where it is costly or difficult to install new networks, such as urban blocks of flats and rural locations, Ofcom will have the power to impose obligations on operators already present to offer network access or to share equipment such as mobile masts with other operators.
Pro-investment regulation – Ofcom’s market review period will be increased from three to five years which will give a longer period of regulatory stability to the telecoms market and more certainty for investors in gigabit broadband.
Easier consumer switching – gaining provider-led is being extended across a new generation of alternative networks. Ofcom has previously announced that it will allow additional time for providers to implement technically complex changes such as switching.
Better regulation of bundles – consumers on bundled contracts including mobile and broadband, and other services such as video and music streaming, will be able switch providers more easily, meaning they will avoid being locked into bundled contracts if providers make changes or something goes wrong with just one service in the bundle.