Ofcom- Three year strategic framework
Wales- an area of outstandingly bad mobile reception
Draft Annual Plan 2007/08
1.1 Ofcom has now been up and running for three years and during that time the communications sector has changed considerably. Convergence – the reason Ofcom was created – is becoming a reality.
1.2 For consumers, convergence is leading to greater choice. Communications services are now available on many different platforms. A good example of this is radio: listeners can hear programmes on traditional platforms, such as FM and AM, as well as on new platforms, such as DAB digital radio, digital terrestrial TV, and broadband, either streamed live or downloaded for later. Consumers can also choose bundles of services on the same platform, or obtain services on a range of platforms. For example, TV, radio, internet access and voice calls can all be supplied using a broadband connection, or can be supplied separately.
1.3 As convergence occurs, consumers are seeking increased control. They want to personalise the services they use, downloading programmes on demand, filtering content unsuitable for children, and using personal video recorders to create their own viewing schedules.
1.4 Consumers also value increased mobility and flexibility. Mobile phones and PDAs are central to many people’s lives. Wireless home networks are increasingly popular. New services, such as mobile TV, offer the prospect of even more freedom.
1.5 Another feature of the new communications landscape is increasing participation. People are producing their own video clips and sharing them online. They are writing blogs and bypassing traditional media. They are forming communities, interacting and engaging online.
1.6 This era of convergence will also be characterised by disruption. Traditional business models are under threat – commercial broadcasters must compete for viewers and advertising in a world where there are dozens of channels, and fixed line phone services are being challenged by mobile and VoIP.
1.7 This disruption challenges the traditional ways of achieving public outcomes, by which we mean the provision of those services which are important to all of us as citizens of the UK. For example, in the future we may not be able to rely so much on BT to provide universal access to the telephone, and we will have to reformulate how we deliver public service broadcasting in a digital, internet age.
1.8 The changes which are under way can also cause anxiety. Lots of parents worry about how to protect their children in the online world, and many people are anxious about the switch to digital TV. Others may fear being excluded because of where they live, their level of income or their lack of technological know-how.
1.9 Convergence will bring significant benefits for consumers and citizens. They will be able to choose from an increased range of services that offer more flexibility and the chance to participate in society in new ways. Although these benefits will be provided by markets, Ofcom has a role in influencing the speed of convergence and how widely the benefits are enjoyed. We believe that the interests of citizens and consumers are served by regulating for convergence, which means promoting the competition and innovation that drives converging markets.
1.10 Regulating for convergence will also involve acting resolutely to protect people and ensuring that they have the knowledge and skills to use communications services effectively. As services become more complicated and markets become more competitive, Ofcom will have a crucial role in ensuring that people are confident and capable of benefiting from convergence.
1.11 In Ofcom’s first three years, we completed strategic reviews of telecoms, public service broadcasting and the radio spectrum. In order to meet the challenges of convergence, it is now important for us to look forward and provide a clear sense of how we will respond to the changes which are happening in the communications sector. Our Draft Annual Plan for 2007/8 therefore sets out a three-year strategic policy framework, which describes our key areas of focus for the next three years. The Draft Annual Plan also describes our proposed policy priorities for 2007/8, which are a mixture of new and ongoing work.
1.12 Equally important is the range of services which we deliver to stakeholders. These services include responding to calls and emails from the public, licensing access to the radio spectrum, keeping the spectrum free from interference, and allocating phone numbers to service providers. Our Draft Annual Plan describes these services in more detail and explains what we will be doing to improve them.
1.13 We are keen to share and test our ideas and look forward to receiving your comments and opinions. We invite your written responses by 20 February 2007, which is the closing date of the consultation. There will also be a series of public events throughout the UK where you will be able to put forward your views. You can find details on our website: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/annual_plan2007/annual_plan200708/invite.
David Currie, Chairman
Ed Richards, Chief Executive
Draft Annual Plan 2007/08 Invite form
Ofcom is holding a series of public meetings across the UK to hear people's views on its draft Annual Plan for 2007/8.
The meetings will provide an opportunity for everyone with an interest in the regulation of the communications industries to discuss Ofcom's approach to television, radio, telecoms and wireless communications services. Each meeting will begin with a brief presentation, after which there will be an opportunity to comment and ask questions.
Subjects may include:
- Public Service Broadcasting
- Spectrum management, release and licensing
- Telecoms complaints
- Programme standards
- Media literacy
- Digital switchover
- Next Generation Networks
- Access to communications services
- European and international issues
All meetings, which include a panel of Ofcom experts, are open and free of charge. If you would like to attend an event, please register using the form below. Please note it is essential to pre-register.
|Wales||Friday 19 January||Cardiff||1030-1230|| |
St. David’s Hotel
|Tuesday 30 January||Caernarfon||1030-1230|| |
|Northern Ireland||Tuesday 23 January||Belfast||1000-1200|| |
|Scotland||Wednesday 31 January||Glasgow||1000-1200||Thistle Hotel, |
36 Cambridge Street
Glasgow G2 3HN
|England||Monday 5 February||Newcastle||1400-1600||Copthorne Hotel |
|Wednesday 7 February||Bristol||1400-1600||Watershed 3 |
Watershed Media Centre
1 Canon’s Road
Bristol BS1 5TX
|Tuesday 23 January||London||0900-1030||Riverside House |
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA
|Tuesday 23 January||London||1400-1600||Riverside House|
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA
Ofcom reveals its New Year's resolutions
Published: 13 Dec 2006 09:58 GMT
Providing more spectrum for wireless gadgets and increasing competition in the converging fixed line, broadband and TV market will be the top priorities for Ofcom over the next couple of years.
These objectives are part of the regulatory body's draft annual plan for 2007/08 which has been released for consultation.
Ofcom wants to release more radio spectrum for various wireless and mobile technologies to use next year. It also wants to promote the trading of spectrum licences to allow operators to make the best use of the spectrum available.
Promoting competition in the converging market of fixed line and mobile telecoms along with broadband, television and radio is another priority. Encouraging competition and investment with next generation comms networks is also an objective.
It also wants to provide methods for UK consumers to benefit from convergence of services. It plans to do this by promoting content regulation and providing such things as their recently proposed price comparison accreditation scheme.
Industry compliance is another area that will receive attention. This may include the compulsory supply of MAC codes by operators to customers wanting to change broadband supplier, allowing people to switch service easily.
There is also the objective reviewing how to implement the requirement of 2003's Communications Act to provide a more consistent legal and economic framework for UK comms industries.
The proposals will be open for consultation until 20 February, 2007.
Ofcom appoints six new members to its Advisory Committee for Wales
Ofcom today announced the appointment of six new members to its Advisory Committee for Wales.
Under Section 20 of the Communications Act 2003, the Committee was established to provide advice to Ofcom about the interests and opinions of people living in Wales on all communications matters.
The new members are:
Julie Barton (three year term) is a media consultant living near Pontypridd. She worked for BBC Wales for more than 20 years, and spent the last six as Editor, BBC Radio Wales. She trains students and media staff across Wales in all aspects of radio. She represents the National Union of Journalists on the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, and is also a Trustee of the Welsh Refugee Council. Julie is also learning Welsh.
Charlie Bass (four year term) lives in Flintshire and runs an e-commerce and website consultancy providing business process and technology based advice to organisations across Wales , the UK and Europe. Previously he worked as a communications and avionics engineer in the Royal Navy Fleet Arm before joining AT&T to set up its Microelectronics division in the UK and Private Networks Division in the Middle East and Africa. He is a former Chairman of the Wales Broadband Stakeholders Group.
John Davies (four year term) is a telecommunications consultant and communications company director. The former Director of BT Wales and Chief Operations Officer of BT Wholesale, John has an MBA from London Business School. He lives in Cardiff and is a Council Member of the Prince’s Trust Cymru.
Mark Elliott (three year term) works for Ceredigion County Council as Assistant Director of Corporate Performance where his responsibilities include performance management, public relations, e-Government, community safety, community planning, civil contingencies and corporate health and safety. He is a Trustee and Deputy Chair of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.
Glyn Mathias (four year term) lives in Brecon and is the Electoral Commission’s member for Wales. He has over 30 years’ experience as a broadcast journalist for ITN and BBC and is a former public affairs consultant. Glyn is a former Welsh adviser for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and a published author. He is currently a Trustee of Autism Cymru and Director of Brecon Action, an economic regeneration group.
Gary Partridge (four year term) is a Chartered Accountant and became a Corporate Finance Partner with PKF (UK) LLP in 2004. He has previously worked for Finance Wales as a Venture Capital Director and for BT executing global mergers and acquisitions transactions for the Group. Prior to that he was Assistant Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers ( London and Budapest ). He is currently the Vice President of the South Wales Society of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and will serve a one-year term as President in 2008/9.
Additionally, Nick Bennett has been re-appointed to the Committee for a further three year term. Originally from Anglesey, Nick is Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru as well as a non-executive Director of Bute Communications. A former director of Newidiem economic development consultancy, between 1996 and 1999 he was Regional Policy Adviser at the Wales European Centre in Brussels before being appointed Cabinet Special Adviser to the Deputy First Minister in the first partnership coalition of the Welsh Assembly Government. Nick is a fluent Welsh speaker.
Ian Clarke will remain as a member of the committee as will the Committee’s Chair, Professor Tony Davies, until 2008.
Rhodri Williams, Director Wales, Ofcom said: “The Advisory Committee will play an important role in advising Ofcom on communications matters that effect Wales.
“The communications landscape is undergoing huge change in Wales with digital switchover beginning in 2009 and next generation networks being piloted in South Wales.
“The Committee will continue to provide Ofcom with advice on key issues for Welsh consumers and citizens”
NOTES FOR EDITORS AND CSEs
The new Members will begin their work on 1 March 2007 for a three or four year term.
Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services.