Ofcom

Ofcom completes Phase 1 of its Digital Communications Review – now comes the hard bit…

Ofcom today published its discussion document on the challenges facing the UK’s telecommunications sector over the next decade, marking the completion of the first phase of the Digital Communications Review that it kicked off in March. The key aim of the review is to ensure that the UK’s citizens and businesses are well served by high-quality, widely available telecoms services.

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Ofcom’s action plan for broadband services for SMEs

Ofcom yesterday launched an action plan for improving the broadband services that are available to the UK’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Whilst they found that the vast majority of SMEs are satisfied with the communications and are well catered for, they did discover a significant minority who had less favourable experiences. Ofcom highlighted four issues that they feel need more attention; the availability of superfast broadband, a concentrated retail market structure, concerns around quality of service, and SMEs struggling to navigate the market.

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Ofcom’s new CEO committed to put “consumers and citizens at the heart” of the regulator’s work

Sharon White delivered today her first major speech as Ofcom’s Chief Executive at a Which? Conference. She stressed that Ofcom will continue to carry out its role as a light touch regulator, encouraging competition and investment, but with an increased consumer focus. As part of her speech, Sharon White highlighted some elements of Ofcom’s work programme, including the improvement of the process for consumers to switch broadband and landline providers, the upcoming Digital Communications Review, and confirming the government’s commitment to deliver the Universal Service Obligation of 5Mbit/s.

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Ofcom's Consumer Experience reports of 2014 show positive progress on broadband take-up and speeds

The ninth annual report published on 28 January explores the consumers’ experience of the use telecoms, the internet (predominantly fixed broadband), digital broadcasting and postal services in 2014. It is accompanied by a Consumer Experience Policy Evaluation which assesses the impact of Ofcom’s policy work and activities against the findings of the research.

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Ofcom research on connectivity in UK cities published

Much of the focus on improving access to the internet has been understandably focused on rural areas. However, research undertaken for Ofcom by Analysys Mason not only shows that slow broadband and Next Generation Access (NGA) availability affect a significant minority of households in urban areas – but that these households tend to be those on the lowest incomes.

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Public Accounts Committee publishes report following enquiry into rural broadband

This morning the Public Accounts Committee published their final report following their examination of the Government’s rural broadband programme.

The report focuses its attention on areas where the committee believed BT and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport could have acted in a way which brought better value for money for the tax payers.

The recommendations from the report are as follows: (more…)

Ofcom publish research highlighting consumer understanding of traffic management

Ofcom has today published a piece of consumer research looking at how consumers are buying broadband products and their understanding of ISPs’ traffic management policies in relation to this.

The BSG played a key role in facilitating the voluntary code of practice on traffic management transparency launched in 2011 and welcomes Ofcom’s research as an input into how well that voluntary framework is meetings its stated objectives and meeting the needs of consumers.

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Ofcom release statement and consultation on Switching

Further to last week’s DCMS Strategy paper Connectivity, Content and Consumers: Britain’s digital platform for growth, Ofcom has provided further detail on the way forward for Gaining-Provider Lead Switching.

The DCMS strategy paper indicated that legislation would be passed to give Ofcom a duty to ensure a consistent and effective experience for consumer switching, particularly in regard to bundles, and this latest release lays out a consultation and statement on the processes for switching fixed voice and broadband providers on the Openreach copper network (which includes FTTC).

The Consultation closes on 2 October 2013.

Ofcom announce winners of UK 4G spectrum auction

Ofcom today announced the winners of its 4G spectrum auction, with Everything Everywhere; Hutchison 3G UK; Niche Spectrum Ventures, a BT subsidiary; Telefónica (O2); and Vodafone, emerging as winning bidders.

In 50 rounds of bidding, a total of 250MHz of spectrum was auctioned in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands. It is thought that the combination of the two bands will allow networks to deal with concentrated demand in urban areas as well as provide widespread network coverage. (more…)

BSG sets out views on net neutrality; encourages transparency for consumers

The BSG has been engaged in the recent policy and regulatory debate on net neutrality.

A term not easy to define, our approach has been to focus on what the issues covered by the term actually mean for the development of services on the internet.

This has been demonstrated by the agenda we put together for our conference on 9 September, ‘Quality Time? Meeting consumer expectations with next generation services’. (more…)