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Split Ofcom (Office of Communications Act 2002)

Comment 4th July 2010

I would like to see Ofcom split into a media regulator, and a telecommunications regulator.

Why does this matter?

Prior to Ofcom, regulation of the telecommunications industry was the responsibility of Oftel and the Radio Communications Agency. Content and media were regulated by the Broadcasting Standards Commission the Independent Television, and the Radio Authority.

I believe splitting the regulator would improve the protection for privacy/security/integrity of UK telecommunications.

Examples of communication regulation concessions by Ofcom to appease media interests include behaviourally targeted advertising using illegal communications methods such as Phorm. (Ofcom claimed they were powerless to intervene to protect the UK telecommunication network from covert surveillance by Russian/Turkish/American spyware crooks).

Other examples include the use of anti-competitive service throtting (which is preventing the proliferation and free competiton between IPTV services).

Reforming Ofcom – splitting the regulation of telecommunications from the regulation of media – would ensure that;

  • Enhance protection for privacy/security/integrity of UK telecommunications from abuse, personal intrusion, illegal surveillance, and industrial espionage
  • Ensure UK telecommunications met the needs of all sectors of the economy (manufacturing/ retail/ healthcare/ defence/ charity/ academia etc) fairly… not just the narrow interests of the media industry
  • Promote free and fair competition in the media, and communications industry
  • Encourage greater investment in telecommunications infrastructure on the basis of bandwidth consumption (and reinvestment)
  • Encourage small media companies to grow
  • Discourage anti-competitive misconduct by communications companies using throttling or service blocking to obstruct competitors
  • Improve the commercial independence of the regulator
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