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Ofcom’s Surprise

One of the world’s bellwether regulators has announced a surprise strategic review. Tom Kiedrowski discusses what’s behind it.

Ofcom’s Surprise

When Ofcom announced its strategic review of digital communications (SRDC) in March, it came as a surprise even to seasoned observers. Only a few weeks previously Ofcom held a meeting for hundreds of its stakeholders on its draft annual plan, where there was no mention nor hint of its biggest review for a decade. So what brought about this change and how does it differ from the telecoms strategic review (TSR) of 2004-5?

UK Broadband – Up where it belongs? Both the British government and the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, are keen to demonstrate the success of the availability of superfast broadband, defined as broadband with download speeds of at least 30 Mbps. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) likes to boast that this is now available to 95% of UK households and will increase to 98% within a couple of years, while Ofcom is keen to show that superfast broadband has risen quickly as a result of competition among network providers and the regulator’s application of the EU regulatory framework and national competition law. Moreover, Ofcom’s studies find that the UK is ahead of the other four big EU member states when it comes to broadband availability. 

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