- Ofcom Consults on Proposed Shake-Up of UK Telecoms Market
- July 28, 2015 | Authors: Francesco Liberatore; Bruce A. Olcott
- Law Firms: Jones Day - London Office ; Jones Day - Washington Office
- Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, has published a discussion document on its Strategic Review of Digital Communications. The document outlines possible changes to the regulatory regime applying to all digital communications services in the UK, including broadband, mobile, landline and bundled services.
Ofcom now is seeking views from the public on four main topics:
- Investment and innovation in the market, which can help make services widely available.
- Competition to deliver quality services and affordable prices.
- Empowerment of consumers and businesses, particularly making sure they have the information and means to choose and switch between providers.
- Targeting of regulation on areas of concern, and deregulation where possible to allow markets to function well.
In the current review, Ofcom is considering the following options:
- Retaining the current model, where Openreach operates as "functionally separate" from BT, and using regular market reviews to address any concerns around competition.
- Strengthening the current model by applying new price control rules to BT.
- Separating Openreach from BT.
- Deregulating and promoting competition between networks. According to Ofcom, "Virgin Media and a variety of smaller operators own networks which allow them to provide phone and broadband services without using BT's network at all. This kind of 'end to end' competition, which sometimes involves running fibre lines directly to premises, can help incentivise Openreach to improve its infrastructure. However, it could also lead to duplication of networks and weak competition".
The deadline for public responses to the discussion document is 8 October 2015.