Ofcom to review digital communications

Ofcom is to conduct a comprehensive review of the UK’s digital communications markets so that providers can roll out services adequate for the needs of customers and businesses.

The ‘Strategic Review of Digital Communications’ is to examine the competition, investment, innovation and the availability of services across the broadband, mobile and landline markets.

Ofcom says that 2015 is the right time for a comprehensive assessment to “take stock of the effectiveness of the rules” governing the digital communications markets, ten years after the regulations were introduced.

Ofcom last conducted a review of the markets in 2005 which facilitated the use of BT’s phone and broadband by rival providers and this second review will help determine the future developments for regulation of the UK’s digital communications sector.

Steve Unger, Ofcom’s acting chief executive, said: “We have seen huge changes in the phone and broadband markets since our last major review a decade ago.

Only five years ago, hardly any of us had used a tablet computer, high-definition streaming or 4G mobile broadband.

The boundaries between landline, mobile and broadband services continue to blur, and people are enjoying faster services on a growing range of devices.

Our new review will mean Ofcom’s rules continue to meet the needs of consumers and businesses by supporting competition and investment for years to come.”

The review will first involve consultation with the providers, consumer groups, the government and devolved administrations with the discussions published in summer 2015; Ofcom then anticipates to file initial conclusions before the end of the year.

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