This year’s Connection Nations Report states that despite the high demand throughout the pandemic leading to significant changes to the use of their services, the fixed and mobile networks have coped well. A shift to more people being at home drove increased demand on daytime home broadband traffic, and mobile networks saw record numbers of calls made during the first UK-wide lockdown. Both broadband and mobile services have remained resilient as networks put in place measures to manage the extra demand.
Ofcom is consulting on its draft 2021/22 Plan of Work which sets out its proposed strategic priorities and includes the following:
- Investment in strong, secure networks
Supporting ongoing investment in faster broadband and better-quality mobile networks and working with industry to ensure they are safe, secure and resilient.
- Getting everyone connected
Working to ensure people and businesses can access key communications services – including in the hardest to reach locations. It includes monitoring the delivery of the universal broadband service and the Shared Rural Network. (more…)
In its December 2019 consultation, Ofcom proposed a package of measures to implement new customer protections in the EECC. In a statement by the regulator published today, the following decisions have been made:
- Selling locked handsets will be banned – from December 2021.
- Customers needing accessible formats due to their disabilities can request communications to be sent in a format that meets their needs (e.g. braille). This includes communications about their service such as price changes or payment reminders – from December 2021.
- Customers will be given important information in writing before they sign a contract, including a summary of key contract terms (broadband providers must inform customers of the minimum internet speeds they can expect) – from June 2022.
- Customers can exit their contract if providers make changes they were not previously informed of, and are not to their benefit during the minimum term. This applies to other services or equipment if bought as part of a bundle – from June 2022.
- Enabling broadband switching across physically separate fixed networks, and banning notice period charges beyond the date of the switch for fixed residential customers – from December 2022.
Within the statement, Ofcom is consulting on proposed changes to the General Conditions, the Metering and Billing Direction and the Numbering Plan until 30 November.
The full document is available here:
Ofcom has published its Communications Market Report.
Revenue from telecoms contributed £32 billion to the UK economy in 2019. Retail fixed and mobile generated £13.4 billion and the remainder was from wholesale revenues. Ofcom also reported that 80% of households have a fixed broadband connection and 98% have a mobile phone. (more…)
The EU Regulation on open internet access (the Open Internet Regulation) requires the safeguarding of equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic and related end-users’ right when providing internet access services. BEREC recently published guidelines on the implementation by national regulators of European net neutrality rules, which requires regulatory authorities such as Ofcom to apply the regulation in a consistent manor. Ofcom must also publish regular reports. The latest report covers the year ending April 2020. (more…)
The performance delivered by broadband providers is holding up well during the COVID-19 lockdown period and speeds have withstood the increase in demand from home working, online learning and streaming. While being impacted by reduced staffing levels, providers have prioritised keeping the nation connected. Fixed, broadband and mobile providers have put additional measures in place to help vulnerable customers and pledged additional support to NHS workers.
The latest report is based on performance in November 2019 but Ofcom has also included measurements taken in the first and last week of March 2020 to assess the impact of COVID-19.
Ofcom has published its first combined five-year review of Wholesale Fixed Telecoms regulation which maps out how it will regulate Openreach between April 2021 and March 2026 for both the residential and businesses connectivity markets (previously the regulator separately assessed the Wholesale Local Access Market Review of residential, and the Business Connectivity Market Review).
Ofcom’s four-point plan aims to support competitive investment in fibre networks and competition in gigabit capable services, ensuring world class broadband services are available to as many people and businesses as possible. (more…)
Ofcom has set out its proposed workplan for the next financial year. The consultation closes on 25th February 2020.
- Better broadband and mobile – support ongoing investment in faster broadband and better mobile coverage across the country.
- Fairness for customers – ensure broadband, phone and TV customers, particularly vulnerable people, are treated fairly.
- Support UK broadcasting – support the sector (including public service broadcasting) in delivering continued benefits to all UK audiences.
- Online communications – in conjunction with Government, protect consumers from harmful content online and ensure communications services online work for consumers.
- Enable strong, secure networks – build a centre of excellence for security and resilience, work with industry to protect networks against outages and cyber-attacks, lead on initiatives to close gaps in best practice.
Ofcom’s 2019 Connected Nations report, released today, sets out this year’s developments in broadband and mobile services, availability and coverage.
Leading the data is the nearly three million UK homes that can now access full-fibre broadband – 10% of all homes – and 1.5 million more than last year.
Overall superfast broadband coverage is now around 95%, which means that the vast majority of homes can access download speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s. Take-up of superfast packages has increased by 20% in twelve months, but Ofcom suggests millions more could get faster internet by upgrading. (more…)
Ofcom is seeking comments on its proposed changes to certain regulations that require Openreach to install broadband connections within a set period of time. Openreach has developed a ‘Bulk Grouping provision capability’ in coordination with its wholesale customers that will allow providers to upgrade their standard broadband customers to superfast and ultrafast products in batches. (more…)
DCMS is consulting on its approach to implementing the key articles of the European Electronic Communications Code, which updates the regulatory framework governing the telecoms sector across the EU. The consultation document assumes a post-EU Exit implementation period until at least December 31st2020.
The revised Directive coming out of the EU intends to incentivise investment in very high-capacity broadband networks, support 5G rollout by promoting more efficient spectrum management, and protect and engage consumers. Internet phone and messaging services will be brought for the first time into scope of telecoms regulation.
The Government sets out three options for transposition of articles that potentially make substantive changes to access and investment incentives, radio spectrum, consumer protection and universal service obligations. These options include maintain the status quo, transposing the minimum requirements or adopting an alternative approach to transposition.
Throughout the consultation the Government seeks to ensure that the strategic goals set out in its FTIR remain consistent with regulatory changes from the transposition. The closing date is September 10th.
The recent update to Ofcom’s Connected Nations report – which provides information on coverage and service availability for both internet and mobile phones – reveals that ultrafast broadband speeds (defined as download speeds over 300Mbit/s) are now available to properties in just over half the country. Superfast speeds of at least 30Mbit/s have reached 95% of UK premises and full-fibre broadband has risen a percentage point to 7% coverage, or 300,000 additions in the four months since the last report.
The end of 2018 saw Ofcom launching a campaign to motivate people to get better broadband deals and understand the market better. This follows Ofcom’s own research revealing that whilst 94% of homes and businesses have access to super-fast broadband, take up remains at fewer than half.