Open Communications – Enabling people to share data with innovative servicesGulistan Ladha
In Ofcom’s consultation the potential uses and benefits of Open Communications are explored and how it could best work for people and businesses. In particular, how to enable consumers and small businesses to share information about their services with third parties of their choice easily and securely. In 2019, the Government’s Smart Data Review proposed to introduce Open Communications through legislation, to stimulate innovation and promote the development of new services that improve outcomes. Responses to this consultation will help to inform Government thinking on the future development of Open Communications.
BSG held an online workshop in June with industry, Ofcom and Government to discuss initial thinking in this area.
What is being considered in designing Open Communications? Data mobility could act as a platform for further innovation in the market for fixed line, broadband, pay TV and mobile services. It could enable new services that help people and businesses to overcome barriers that stop many from engaging with the market and assist people to search for the best deal for their needs. Ofcom also suggests that access to Open Communications could also enable third parties to assist financially vulnerable customers to find a deal better suited to their specific needs. However, the process of sharing data with a third party will need to be fast, as easy for customers as possible, and above all, totally secure. Consent for the data to be shared will also be required.
The deadline for responses is 10 November. Ofcom plans to publish a statement in the first half of 2021 summarising the responses and setting out a plan.