VoD services, except for BBC iPlayer, are not subject to Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code, which includes enhanced protections to audiences from harmful and offensive material. VoD services apply a range of audience protection tools, including password-protected accounts, pin codes, content warnings and age verification. However, approaches are not consistent across services and can lack familiar, trustworthy signposting and guidance, which may cause concern and confusion. The government is minded to better align the rules between VoD services that provide a TV-like experience and ‘traditional’ linear TV, ensuring UK audiences receive a similar level of protection.
Building Digital UK has launched an Open Market Review (OMR) to identify potential areas for government intervention to support gigabit-capable broadband. The OMR Request for Information is to confirm where gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure currently exists or was planned to be built in the next 3 years across the geographical areas outlined below. (more…)
Building Digital UK (BDUK) has launched ‘Project Gigabit Lot 5 Public Review‘ which is seeking information and supporting evidence about gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure within the Cambridgeshire project area.
Connecting Cambridgeshire conducted an Open Market Review (OMR) for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in December 2020. This review process aims to validate the outcome of the OMR to ensure it correctly represents the information provided by suppliers and that the right areas are targeted for government investment. Stakeholders, including broadband infrastructure operators, ISPs, the public, and businesses, are invited to provide feedback about the proposed eligible areas for government investment (intervention). (more…)
Ofcom has launched a consultation which proposes the removal of the requirement to provide a local dialling facility and banning direct and indirect revenue-sharing across geographic and non-geographic number ranges. Local dialling is where a person makes a call from one landline to another landline in the same area without needing to dialling the area code. The migration to IP will affect all landline phone users and is fundamentally restructuring how voice services are provided across the UK. Revenue-sharing occurs where a phone company shares the revenue that it receives for terminating a call with a third party.
Under Project Gigabit which was announced today, the UK government has pledged a further £2 million to extend investment to NHS Scotland sites in isolated areas of the country.
91 GP surgeries and community hospitals in rural parts of Scotland – including remote island services on Arran, Jura, Lewis, Mull, Shetland and Orkney – will benefit from gigabit broadband upgrades. A further £1 million has also been pledged to extend full fibre to even more schools, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries across the Highlands. Public buildings will have faster internet speeds from a £7.3 million total investment through the government’s Local Full Fibre Networks scheme. In the northern isles of Yell and Unst in Shetland, work as part of a £2 million project to connect 21 schools, council buildings and other public sites to fibre broadband has now been completed. Up to 37 sites are expected to receive connections in March with all due to completed by March 2022. (more…)
The Telecoms Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill has successfully passed through parliament and is set to become law.
As a reminder, the Bill was introduced in late 2019 with the aim of allowing fixed broadband providers to gain access to multiple dwelling buildings (blocks of residential flats and apartments) in order to deploy, upgrade or maintain fixed-line broadband connections where a landlord has repeatedly failed to respond. The forthcoming law will place an obligation on landlords, via the Electronic Communications Code, to facilitate the deployment of digital infrastructure and enable providers to use magistrates courts to gain entry to properties.
In parallel, the consultation on further potential changes to the Electronic Communications Code is is underway on whether to make further changes to help improve the process between landowners and providers.
As part of the UK Gigabit Programme, BDUK has issued a request for information on a new procurement to extend coverage of gigabit-capable broadband across Cumbria. Last November BDUK conducted an Open Market Review (OMR) which requested information from suppliers regarding details and supporting evidence of any current or planned investment over the next three years in broadband infrastructure in the county. The OMR indicated that planned commercial coverage for gigabit-capable broadband will reach approximately 141,034 premises within the next three years, and will leave the remaining 143,864 premises without access to gigabit-capable broadband. (more…)
Ofcom is consulting on new plans for a new ‘one touch’ switching process to make it easier for all residential broadband customers to switch service across different providers.
Following an Ofcom rule change in 2015, customers switching between providers such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk on Openreach’s copper network can already follow a process where the gaining provider manages the switch. This latest proposal is to enable switching across different networks, for example, from a provider using the Openreach network to one using CityFibre’s, or from Virgin Media to Hyperoptic. Industry has been working to design this process for residential customers who want to switch fixed voice and broadband services. (more…)
DCMS has launched a technical consultation on its draft procurement strategy for the UK Gigabit Programme setting out plans to connect the first one million homes and businesses and maximise coverage in the hardest to reach 20% of the UK by 2025. The consultation seeks views to help target delivery of the programme, which includes demand-led approaches such as the voucher scheme and the new ‘outside-in’ supply-side interventions. The new procurements for gigabit infrastructure will begin in Spring 2021 and build is expected to begin at the end of 2021/early 2022.
BSG is a member of the Gigabit Take-up Advisory Group (GigaTAG) which is looking into how to stimulate demand among consumers and businesses for gigabit-capable broadband. The GigaTAG has drawn upon our report by WIK-Consult ‘Moving to a fibre-enabled UK: International experiences on barriers to gigabit adoption‘.
Following an earlier consultation, the GigaTAG has published its interim report which is open for consultation until 05 February 2021.
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…)
Ofcom has published its consultation ‘Supporting the UK’s wireless future – Our spectrum management strategy for the 2020s’ setting out its plans to manage the use of the spectrum over the next ten years.
The proposals are grouped into three strategic themes:
- Supporting wireless innovation
- Licensing to fit local and national services
- Promoting spectrum sharing
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:
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden announced Government’s National Data Strategy to drive growth, boost innovation, create new jobs and improve public services. Government will develop a clear policy framework to determine what interventions are needed to unlock the value of data across the economy and help drive the recovery from Covid-19. It proposes an overhaul in the use of data across the public sector and a programme of work will be launched that will transform the way data is managed, used, shared internally within government, and with wider public sectors organisations. (more…)