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22nd July 2021

Telecoms firms need to do more to help customers struggling to pay bills

Ofcom has today published our annual Pricing Trends report, which provides analysis of what people paid for their broadband and phone services in 2020. Our research shows that, in general, broadband and mobile customers are getting better services while prices have been falling in recent years.

However, many people on low incomes are struggling to pay, and not all are getting the support they need. New data we have collected on the affordability of communications services, also published today, shows that around two million households struggle to afford internet access.

20th July 2021

Ofcom report shines light on new technologies shaping the future of the internet

Ofcom has today published the latest report from its Emerging Technology programme – shining a light on the technological advances that could shape the Internet of the future.

As the UK’s communications regulator, it is vital we are aware of the trends and changes affecting the sectors we regulate – both now and in the future. Ofcom’s Emerging Technology programme monitors these developments closely and earlier this year, we published our Technology Futures report – looking at the telecoms technologies that could pave the way for new ways for people to communicate in the coming years.

We have continued our work to explore what the next game-changing innovations could be. Today we have published Internet Futures – a follow-up report that focuses on the technologies that could underpin how the Internet operates in the future, and what that could mean for people and businesses.

The report includes contributions from industry, academics and technology experts from across the world – offering a sample of the many different innovative technologies being developed. The report summarises these views, with the following overarching themes emerging as the key trends:

·        Personalisation of experience, privacy, trust, and quality of experience for users;

·        Increased introduction of cloud technology and its extension closer to the end user; and

·        Environmental sustainability.

We will continue to keep a close eye on how the communications sectors are evolving through our ongoing Emerging Technology programme, and welcome further views on important technologies for the future.

9th July 2021

Ofcom Annual Report and Accounts 2020/21

Ofcom has today published its Annual Report and Accounts for the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

We have also published our Section 400 Accounts, with details of receipts from licence fee payments and financial penalties over the course of the year.

6th July 2021

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: July 2021

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

Regular updates

  • Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
  • Television broadcast licensing update
  • Radio licensing monthly update

Broadcast

  • Update on temporary Covid-19 short-term restricted service licences
  • Statement: Notice of decision to withdraw pre-advertisement of local analogue commercial radio licence for Portsmouth
  • Limited coverage FM restricted service radio trial licensing – Update on the award of trial licences

Telecoms

  • Clarification on our new guidance on contractual modifications from June 2022
  • Final directions applying Code powers to Ark Data Centres Ltd and Suez Advanced Solutions UK Ltd
  • Application form for Ofcom’s Digital Comparison Tools Accreditation Scheme

 Research

  • BBC Teens Tracker
  • Covid-19 news and information: consumption and attitudes
  • BBC Performance Tracker 2020/21
  • Rapid Evidence Assessment of Diversity in Public Service Broadcasting

Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update 
The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for June 2021. At the end of June 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.05 million. There are 4.12 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.07 million.

Television broadcast licensing update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.

Radio licensing monthly update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors. This month’s update includes recently published information on our limited coverage FM restricted service radio trials.

Update on temporary Covid-19 short-term restricted service licences
Once a government has announced that restrictions are lifted, we will no longer offer temporary Covid-19 SRSLs in the nation affected by the announcement. The temporary Covid-19 SRSLs currently on air will come to end on the expiry date in place when the restrictions are lifted.

Statement: Notice of decision to withdraw pre-advertisement of local analogue commercial radio licence for Portsmouth
Ofcom is withdrawing the notice of pre-advertisement and discontinuing the re-licensing process with immediate effect. As a result of a clerical error when the existing licence was granted in 2015, it was inadvertently granted for a seven-year term (expiring on 31 July 2022), rather than a 12-year term as indicated in the 2014 re-advertisement for this licence.

Limited coverage FM restricted service radio trial licensing – Update on the award of trial licences
Ofcom has decided to award licences to participate in the trial to 12 applicants. The trial licences will have a 12-month duration, and we expect that the trial services will come on-air on 1 September 2021.

Clarification on our new guidance on contractual modifications from June 2022
Through engagement with providers we have received questions about Ofcom’s expectations for how providers should apply the General Condition C1 guidance when dealing with changes to charges for roaming services. We have published a letter seeking to provide some additional clarification as to how providers can apply the requirements of the new General Conditions C1.14 and C1.15 with respect to roaming services.

Final directions applying Code powers to Ark Data Centres Ltd and Suez Advanced Solutions UK Ltd
Ofcom has confirmed that, pursuant to the Electronic Communications Code and following consultation, Code powers have now been granted to Final directions applying Code powers to Ark Data Centres Ltd and Suez Advanced Solutions UK Ltd.

Application form for Ofcom’s Digital Comparison Tools Accreditation Scheme
Ofcom has now confirmed arrangements for audits to assess compliance with the new scheme criteria – guidance and an application form can be found on our website. Existing scheme members should submit their completed application by 31 August 2021, and we welcome applications from prospective new scheme members.

BBC Teens Tracker
Data details of the sampling frame, weighting procedures and statistical reliability for the BBC Teens Tracker. The BBC Teens Tracker is part of the wider BBC Performance Tracker research which is conducted among adults aged 16 and over. The BBC Teens Tracker provides Ofcom with an understanding of media consumption and attitudes among secondary school children aged 11 to 16 living in the UK.

Covid-19 news and information: consumption and attitudes
Regular update on how people are receiving and acting on news and information about the Covid-19 pandemic. This publication covers the 63rd week since the first lockdown in Spring 2020. In Week 63 eight in ten people (81%) said they accessed news about the coronavirus at least once a day while traditional media has remained the most-used source of news and information about the coronavirus, used by 82% of people.

BBC Performance Tracker 2020/21
Publication of data tables and a technical report for the BBC Performance Tracker. The BBC Performance Tracker measures audience opinions on the BBC’s performance against the delivery and importance of the four public purposes across the UK.

Rapid Evidence Assessment of Diversity in Public Service Broadcasting
Study conducted by LSE and University of Leeds conducted to help identify knowledge gaps and suggest areas for future research. Among the report’s recommendations are that future research should take into account under-represented categories of diversity such as class, disability and religion. The report also recommends that future research should consider diversity in relation to the UK’s regions.

 

22nd June 2021

New emergency video relay service for sign language users

From next year, British Sign Language users will be able to contact the emergency services using video relay, under new rules announced today by Ofcom.

Under our existing rules, people with hearing or speech impairments can already communicate with other people over the phone via an Ofcom-approved text relay service, and can contact the emergency services by simply sending a text message to 999.

However, these services rely on written English, which can lead to misunderstandings for British Sign Language (BSL) users in emergency situations. We want BSL users to have equivalent access to the emergency services with other people in the UK.

So, we are now requiring telephone and broadband companies to offer a free, 24/7 video relay service for BSL users to contact the emergency services, via a dedicated mobile app and website. Telecoms firms can either deliver the service themselves or contract another organisation to do so, but it must be approved by Ofcom.

Enabling BSL users to use their first language will make it easier for them to get the help they need for them and others in emergencies. They will be better able to describe the nature of the emergency and understand potentially life-saving instructions from the emergency services.

A news article is available with more detail.

15th June 2021

Research on vulnerable customers’ experiences of contacting telecoms providers

Ofcom has today published qualitative research on the customer service some vulnerable people have experienced when getting in touch with their phone, broadband or pay-TV provider recently.

Our research shows that while some people had positive experiences, there was a lack of consistency in the levels of customer service on offer. People’s experiences seemed highly dependent on the member of staff they dealt with. Their experience was often different each time they contacted their provider, or if they were transferred from one customer service agent to another while on the call.

Our rules mean telecoms companies must have policies and procedures in place to make sure vulnerable customers are treated fairly. We have also previously published a guide on the practical measures providers can adopt in light of these rules.

A news article is available with more detail.

9th June 2021

Ofcom’s Online Nation 2021 reveals a year lived online

UK adults spent more time online on desktop, smartphones or tablets in 2020 than comparable European countries according to Ofcom’s annual study into the nation’s online habits.

Ofcom’s Online Nation 2021 delivers a snapshot of an unprecedented year, when communication, entertainment, culture, retail, work and education moved more online.

UK adults spent more than three-and-a-half hours online each day in 2020 – more than an hour longer than in Germany and France and 30 minutes more than Spain.

Brits also spent nearly £2.45bn on, and in, mobile apps across last year, with Tinder, Disney+, YouTube and Netflix topping the list.

The report also reveals:

  • The UK’s online shopping bill sored by almost 50% to nearly £113 billion in 2020.
  • Teenagers’ online purchasing power is also growing – they’re now spending more money online than offline (68% vs. 32% in March 2021);
  • TikTok experienced huge growth during the pandemic – from 3 million UK adult visitors in September 2019 to 14 million by March 2021
  • Tinder is the most popular dating app among young adults, while around half (49%) of all UK adults (26 million) visited an adult website or app in 2020;
  • Despite most platforms setting their minimum user age at 13, nearly two-thirds (59%) of UK children use social media by the time they are 11. By age 15, use increases to 95%; and
  • Two-thirds of boys (67%) and three-quarters of girls (77%) aged 7 to 16 said that social media can cause them worries about body image.Alongside the full report and interactive report, we are publishing three third-party reports designed to help Ofcom better understand people’s online habits, behaviours and attitudes.These reports are:
  • Automated tools: an assessment of the existing range of automated tools for measuring online experiences.
  • Misinformation: a qualitative exploration
  • Online Misinformation and Media Literacy: a rapid evidence review

We are also publishing an independent report by PA Consulting on transparency in the regulation of online platforms as part of our preparation to take on new responsibilities regulating online safety.

8th June 2021

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: June 2021

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

Regular updates

  • Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
  • Television broadcast licensing update
  • Radio licensing monthly update

Broadcast

  • Statement: Commercial radio pre-advertisement

Telecoms 

  • Final directions applying Code powers to Briant Broadband Ltd, Gigaair Ltd, Liberty Property Co II Ltd, Solway Communications Ltd, Spring Fibre Ltd and Stix Internet Ltd

Joint statement on Ofcom’s relationship with NCSC

 Research

  • Technology Tracker – main survey 2021 data
  • Covid-19 news and information: consumption and attitudes
  • News Consumption Survey data 2021

Corporate

  • Information Registry update

Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for May 2021. At the end of May 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.07 million. There are 4.13 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.07 million

Television broadcast licensing update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.

Radio licensing monthly update
Information about Ofcom broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors.

Statement: Commercial radio pre-advertisement
Inviting declarations of intent for the Portsmouth local analogue commercial radio licence which is due to expire on 31 July 2022. 

Final directions applying Code powers to Briant Broadband Ltd, Gigaair Ltd, Liberty Property Co II Ltd, Solway Communications Ltd, Spring Fibre Ltd and Stix Internet Ltd
Ofcom has confirmed that, pursuant to the Electronic Communications Code and following consultation, Code powers have now been granted to Briant Broadband Ltd, Gigaair Ltd, Liberty Property Co II Ltd, Solway Communications Ltd, Spring Fibre Ltd and Stix Internet Ltd.

Joint statement on Ofcom’s relationship with NCSC
A joint statement from Ofcom and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on how the two organisations will work together under the Telecoms Security Bill.

Technology Tracker – main survey 2021 data
Publication of Ofcom’s raw data tables, questionnaires and notes on methodology changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic for Ofcom’s Technology Tracker 2021.

Covid-19 news and information: consumption and attitudes
Regular update on how people are receiving and acting on news and information about the Covid-19 pandemic. This publication covers the 59th week since the first lockdown in Spring 2020. In Week 59 eight in ten people (81%) said they accessed news about the coronavirus at least once a day while traditional media has remained the most-used source of news and information about the coronavirus, used by 83% of people.

News Consumption Survey data 2021
Survey data tables for our regular research into news consumption across television, radio, print and online. Our News Consumption report will be published in the coming weeks.

Information Registry update
Quarterly update on the work of Ofcom’s Information Registry, which helps to co-ordinate formal information requests to companies we regulate.

 

 01 June 2021

Evaluation of the 2015 pricing reforms for calls to non-geographic numbers

Ofcom has published an evaluation of changes we made in 2015 to the regulation of calls to non-geographic numbers.

There were two parts to the changes:

  • making 080 numbers free from mobiles as well as landline telephones; and
  • introducing a new “unbundled tariff” structure for calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers.

The unbundled tariff involved two separate charges:

  • an access charge from the caller’s communication provider; and
  • a service charge from the service provider, i.e. the company providing the service using the number (for example, a ticket booking agency or mail order company).

The lessons we take from this evaluation will inform our future policy making. Read More 

27th May 2021

May 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to the latest edition of the Ofcom newsletter. This month we’ve got some news about our updated mobile and broadband checker, as well as our latest research on broadband speeds in the UK.

There’s also information about the new responsibilities we’ve been granted to help keep people safe online, and insight into why some broadband companies charge their customers for providing an email address.

We’ve updated our mobile and broadband checker

We’ve made changes to our mobile and broadband checker tool, making it more accessible and offering information on services in your area…  Read more

UK broadband speeds are
on the rise

Broadband speeds in UK homes have continued to improve, with both download and upload speeds on the rise, according to the latest Ofcom research… Read more

Ofcom gains online safety powers as Government bill published

The Government has published its draft Online Safety Bill, granting Ofcom new responsibilities to help to keep people safe when they are online… Read more

Why do some broadband providers charge for an email address?

Some broadband customers who switch provider need to pay if they want to continue using the email address their old provider gave them… Read more

New proposals to help people boost indoor mobile signals

People who struggle to get a good mobile signal indoors could buy a wider range of devices to help improve it, under Ofcom proposals… Read more

Telecoms firms should go further on customer service

Telecoms firms need to go further in tackling customer service problems, despite the support they offered during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic… Read more

Give us your view on BSL on TV channels and on-demand services

We’re inviting people who use British Sign Language (BSL) to tell us what they think about the use of BSL on TV and video-on-demand services… Read more

Costs, billing and switching

Learn more about call costs, billing problems and using your phone abroad, as well as advice if you’re considering switching… Read more

How Ofcom deals with TV and radio complaints

Read our guide to the process we follow when we receive a complaint about a TV or radio programme…  Read more

11th May 2021

Mobile strategy review terms of reference

Ofcom has today published the terms of reference for its upcoming mobile strategy review.

In our plan of work for 2021/2022, we outlined plans to develop a strategy for our approach to the mobile sector, to support innovation and help ensure people across the UK get the connections they need.

The review will aim to ensure the mobile market works well for people and businesses over the next five to 10 years, as the market continues to evolve and taking account of new technologies.

We are planning to publish a discussion paper on the review by the end of 2021, with initial conclusions published next spring. Today’s publication sets out the terms of reference for this review.

 

30th April 2021

Approval of Phone-Paid Services Authority’s new code of practice

Ofcom has today published a consultation on approving a new edition of the Phone-paid Services Authority’s code of practice for regulating premium rate services.

Ofcom has overall responsibility to make sure that people who use premium rate services are protected, by ensuring appropriate rules are in place and enforced. To achieve this, we have designated the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) to carry out the day-to-day regulation of these services, which it does by enforcing the rules set out in its code of practice.

Telecoms and pay-TV complaints data

Ofcom has today published the latest league tables on the complaints we receive about the UK’s major home phone, broadband, mobile and pay-TV firms.

The quarterly report reveals the number of complaints made to Ofcom between October and December last year, about firms that provide home broadband, landline telephone, pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV. We include all providers with a market share over 1.5%.

Next month we will publish our annual Comparing Customer Service research, looking into how the major telecoms providers performed on customer service over the past year. This will include data on the number of complaints received throughout 2020.

23rd April 2021

Consultation on future regulation of telephone numbers

Ofcom has today proposed amendments to the rules that govern the use of phone numbers in the UK.

The way we use phones is changing. Mobile and online communications are increasing, and landline use is declining. The traditional landline telephone network in the UK – the public switched telephone network (PSTN) – is coming to the end of its life and is gradually being replaced. Over the next few years, landline calls will be carried over more modern Internet Protocol (IP) networks, with landline telephone services increasingly delivered over broadband connections.

Against this backdrop, we are proposing to remove the obligation on phone companies to provide a ‘local dialling’ facility, given the increased complexity of providing it on IP-based networks. Local dialling lets someone make a call from one landline to another landline in the same area without dialling the area code. Our research has found that the value of local dialling for consumers has declined.

We are also proposing measures that would prohibit ‘cash for calls’ schemes, which incur costs for the phone companies originating the calls, that could ultimately be passed on to their customers.

Today’s consultation closes on 2 July 2021, and we plan to publish our decisions on these proposals later this year.

30th March 2021

Ofcom review of wholesale call markets

Ofcom has today published a statement on how we will regulate the wholesale markets that underpin landline and mobile telephone calls in the UK, for the period between April 2021 and March 2026.

Call termination

When people call a UK mobile or landline number, the caller’s network provider pays a wholesale charge to the recipient’s phone company for connecting the call. This is called a ‘termination rate’.

To continue to protect customers from high prices, we are capping termination rates for calls made and received in the UK, based on the cost of connecting a call. This includes:

  • For calls to mobiles, the cap will be 0.379p per minute next year, which is lower than the current cap of 0.468p per minute. We will also continue applying this mobile termination cap to calls to ‘070’ numbers.
  • For calls to landlines, we will maintain the current cap of 0.0292p per minute in real terms.
  • When someone calls a UK number from abroad, we propose that UK providers should charge no more than the rate they are charged when their customers make calls to that international destination.Call origination and interconnectionCurrently, some phone companies still use BT’s wholesale ‘call origination’ service to enable their customers to make calls on their landline. Over the next few years, landline calls will be increasingly carried over more modern, Internet Protocol (IP) networks. So we will deregulate wholesale call origination, as providers will no longer need to purchase it from BT.As industry moves away from using the traditional telephone network, we expect companies will increasingly interconnect with each other using the more modern IP interconnection networks. So we have set out how we will regulate BT’s IP interconnection service.

26th March 2021

Ofcom’s Plan of Work 2021/2022

Ofcom has today published its Plan of Work for 2021/22, outlining its priorities for the next financial year.

High-quality, reliable communications services have been more important than ever throughout the last year. These services will continue to be an essential part of people’s lives as the UK emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, and for years to come.

Following consultation including a series of public events, Ofcom has today set out its strategic priorities for the coming year.

Ofcom’s strategic priorities for 2021/2022

  • Investment in strong, secure networks.Supporting ongoing investment in faster broadband and better quality mobile networks. Includes working with industry to ensure the UK’s vital communications networks are safe, secure and resilient.
  • Getting everyone connected.Working to ensure people and businesses can access key communications services – including in the hardest to reach locations. Includes monitoring delivery of the universal broadband service and the Shared Rural Network. We will also work to make sure the universal postal service is sustainable for the future.
  • Fairness for customers.Continuing our work to ensure broadband, phone and TV customers – particularly those who are vulnerable – can shop around with confidence, switch easily and are treated fairly.
  • Supporting and developing UK broadcasting.Supporting the UK’s vibrant media sector, including public service broadcasting, and helping them to meet the changing needs of viewers and listeners. We will also continue to monitor and report on the BBC’s performance.
  • Preparing to regulate online harms.We will regulate UK-established video-sharing platforms, under the new regime. The UK Government has confirmed it intends to appoint Ofcom as the regulator for online harms and we are preparing for this planned new role.

We will also take steps to ensure we are well positioned to carry out our duties both now and in the future. This includes:

  • Strengthening Ofcom for the future.As our sectors and our duties are increasingly shaped by online services, we will evolve our skills, develop innovative working practices and build a diverse workforce that reflects the whole of the UK.
  • Developing new partnerships.We will develop new – and build on existing – domestic and international partnerships with regulators, academia, governments, industry and organisations across sectors we regulate.

The Plan of Work also includes our work programme for the next year, which explains the key activities we will be undertaking over the next 12 months across all of our work.

New Manchester hub

As part of Ofcom’s preparations for taking on new online safety responsibilities, we have announced plans to open a new digital and technology hub in Manchester this summer. This will create up to 150 new jobs in the Manchester, drawing on the city’s reputation as a thriving centre for technology and innovation.

A news release is available.

23rd March 2021

ICO and Ofcom publish joint action plan for tackling nuisance calls

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and Ofcom have today outlined a joint plan for tackling nuisance and scam calls for 2021/2022.

The ICO takes the lead on tackling live and recorded marketing calls and nuisance text messages and emails. They are responsible for taking enforcement action against organisations that breach the relevant rules. Ofcom leads on silent and abandoned calls and works collaboratively with the ICO, telecoms companies and other organisations, providing research and technical assistance as well as advice to consumers.

The ICO and Ofcom saw complaints about nuisance calls or messages decrease overall in 2020, however both also noted a surge in complaints from September/October to December 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Ofcom saw an 83% increase in the number of complaints between October and December 2020 compared with the same months in 2019. Similarly, the ICO saw a 27% rise in complaints between September and December 2020 compared to the same months in the previous year. Since 2013, the ICO and Ofcom have published joint action plans to tackle the harm to consumers caused by nuisance calls and messages. In May 2020 we set our key areas of focus in tackling nuisance calls including:

  • Taking targeted action against people or companies that are not following the ICO’s and Ofcom’s rules.
  • Raising awareness of and tackling Coronavirus (Covid-19) scams and continuing to support the work of Stop Scams UK.
  • Working with telecoms companies to improve how they disrupt and prevent nuisance calls, by reviewing solutions made available to customers by their provider.
  • Working with other regulators and enforcement agencies to identifying new opportunities to prevent nuisance calls and scams.
  • Sharing intelligence with others, including international partners and enforcement agencies.

This update reports on the progress made in each of the areas over the last year. We are publishing this update as the UK continues to manage the impacts of the coronavirus and looks at how initiatives designed to curb these kinds of calls and messages are working in practice.

In the year ahead, the ICO and Ofcom will continue to take action on these five key areas and we will publish an update on our progress in 2022. Ofcom also publishes advice for people on how to protect yourself from nuisance calls and messages, and who to complain to if you do receive them.

3rd March 2021

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: March 2021

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

Regular updates:

·         Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update

·         Television broadcast licensing update

·         Radio licensing monthly update

Telecoms:

·         Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes’ performance

·         Proposed numbering withdrawals

 Spectrum:

·         Update to auction process guidance document 

Broadcast:

·         SRSLs – draw results for period of high demand

Research:

·         Customer satisfaction tracker and complaints handling tracker – winter 2020

·         Children’s and Parents’ media use and attitudes – data tables

·         Adults’ media literacy tracker 2020

·         Covid-19 news and information: consumption and attitudes

·         Email and update: Making sense of media network bulletin

·         Residential and business postal trackers Q1 to Q4 2020

Online:

·         Insights for online regulation: a case study monitoring political advertising

Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update

The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for February 2021. At the end of February 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.195 million. There are 4.19 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.09 million.

Television broadcast licensing update

Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.

Radio licensing monthly update

Information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors. This month’s update includes award statements for the first ever small-scale radio multiplex licences. It also includes the outcome of the short-term restricted service licence draws held for this year’s high demand period.

Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes’ performance

OS and CISAS publish data on a quarterly basis showing the ADR case outcomes and the categories of complaints reaching ADR. We have published both schemes’ Key Performance Indicators from Q1 2020.

Proposed numbering withdrawals

Ofcom intends to withdraw number ranges allocated to companies that have been dissolved, gone into liquidation or closed. We are seeking information regarding these proposed withdrawals, to make sure these numbers are not being used.

Update to auction process guidance document

A revised guidance document on the auction process, including an updated schedule of the bidding rounds for the upcoming spectrum auction.

Short term restricted service licences during period of high demand – draw results

Draw results following applications for short-term restricted service licences (SRSLs) from those hoping to broadcast between 9 April and 14 May 2021 – an anticipated period of high-demand that includes Ramadan.

Customer satisfaction tracker and Complaints handling tracker

Data from surveys monitoring customer satisfaction in the communications market, and interviews from customers who had complained to their telecoms providers in the past six months.

Children’s and Parent’s: media use and attitudes data tables

Routine update to the data tables for Ofcom’s Children’s and Parents’ Media Use and Attitudes report.

Adults’ media literacy tracker 2020

Routine update to the data tables for Ofcom’s Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker data tables.

Covid-19 news and information: consumption and attitudes

Monthly update on how people are receiving news and information about the Covid-19 pandemic. These findings cover the 47th week since the initial lockdown in spring 2020.

Making sense of media network bulletin

Regular email summary of media literacy activities by Ofcom and other organisations, in the UK and overseas.

Residential and business postal trackers Q1 to Q4 2020

Datasets of postal tracking surveys conducted in Q1 to Q4 2020, providing data on residential and SME consumers’ use of post and attitudes to postal services.

Insights for online regulation: a case study monitoring political advertising

Report analysing lessons learned from monitoring political advertising on online companies’ platforms, under their voluntary Code of Practice on Disinformation.

 

2nd February 2021

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: February 2021

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

Regular updates

  • Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
  • Television broadcast licensing update
  • Radio licensing monthly update
  • Telecoms
  • Update on GSM Gateways court decision
  • Final directions applying Code powers to Digital Infrastructure Ltd
  • Broadcast
  • Code on Electronic Programme Guides
  • Short-term restricted service licences (SRSLs) – list of areas applied for, for 2021’s high demand period
  • Research
  • Data Collection: user guides and website updates
  • Covid-19 News and information tracker
  • Telecommunications data revenues, volumes and market share update Q3 2020
  • Connected TV advertising market dynamics
  • Online Harms
  • Economic Insights – Tools for Online Regulation: Drivers and Characteristics of False Information Websites

Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for January 2021. At the end of January 2021, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.22 million. There are 4.21 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.09 million.

Television broadcast licensing update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.

Radio licensing monthly update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors. This month’s update includes information on which areas we’ve received short-term restricted service licence applications for, for this year’s period of high demand.

Update on GSM Gateways court decision
This is an update confirming that Ofcom will not be taking action to issue any licence exemption regulations, in relation to the Government seeking permission to appeal a Court of Appeal judgment on GSM gateway devices. We will continue to keep the position under review.

Final directions applying Code powers to Digital Infrastructure Ltd
Ofcom has confirmed that, pursuant to the Electronic Communications Code and following consultation, Code powers have now been granted to Digital Infrastructure Ltd.

Code on Electronic Programme Guides
Publication of minor amendments to sections on prominence, and fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory treatment in Ofcom’s code on Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs) following consultations in late 2020. The changes came into effect on 4th January 2021.

Short-term restricted service licences (SRSLs) – list of areas applied for, for 2021’s high demand period
Publication of the list of geographical areas Ofcom received short-term restricted service licences applications for, covering this year’s period of high demand, which includes Ramadan (9 May to 14 April 2021).

Data Collection: user guides and website updates
Publication of user guides and updates to the website to assist routine submission of data from TV and Radio Broadcast Licence holders.

Covid-19 news and information tracker
Regular research into how people are receiving and acting on news and information about the Coronavirus pandemic. This publication covers Week 43 since the initial lockdown in spring 2020. This wave also includes findings on the news habits of children aged 12-15 during the period November/December 2020.

Research – Telecommunications data revenues, volumes and market share update Q3 2020
This quarterly update highlights trends from the data Ofcom collects on the UK telecoms sector.

Research – Connected TV advertising market dynamics
Publication of a report from consultancy Spark Ninety on the market dynamics of advertising in connected TV, including arrangements on advertising inventory, revenue shares, and the underlying technology and data.

Economic Insights – Tools for Online Regulation: Drivers and Characteristics of False Information Websites
A discussion paper from our Economist team on how to assess the availability and potential impact of false information online. The report finds that false information spreads more easily and faster than ever before. It also explores data sources and research techniques that can be used to investigate false information. The report concludes, among other things, that the scale of content generated and shared online has increased to such an extent that new approaches may be required to undertake a comprehensive analysis of this issue.

 

 

Latest telecoms and pay-TV complaints revealed

Ofcom has today published the latest league tables on the complaints we receive about the UK’s major home phone, broadband, mobile and pay-TV firms.

The quarterly report reveals the number of complaints made to Ofcom between July and September last year, about firms that provide home broadband, landline telephone, pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV. We include all providers with a market share over 1.5%.

A news release is available.

14th January 2021

Cross-sector performance scorecards

Ofcom has today published cross-sector performance scorecards, in collaboration with the UK Regulators Network (UKRN).

The scorecards are part of a UKRN initiative to help customers compare service quality from providers across a number of sectors – including data provided by the CCWFCAOfgem, and Ofwat.

The information on telecoms providers is based on our comparing service quality data, which was taken from before the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic began to unfold in the UK.

 

Emerging technologies shaping the future of communications

A new Ofcom report published today shines a light on the innovative, emerging technologies that could shape the communications industry in the future.

Communications services and the technologies used to deliver them are constantly evolving. As the UK’s communications regulator, it’s vital we are aware of developments in the sectors we oversee and how they may change in the coming years – particularly as we take on new responsibilities such as regulating online harms.

So last year we put out a call for people to send us their thoughts on the emerging technologies that have the potential to transform communications in the future. We received contributions from companies, organisations and technology experts from across the world.

Today we have published a report highlighting examples of the technologies submitted to us – including analysis of how each technology would make a difference to people and businesses.

Innovative technologies to support the rollout of better mobile and broadband services; the role of satellite technology in connecting the hardest to reach areas; and exciting developments in the broadcast sector – such as enhanced, bespoke coverage of sporting events – all feature in the report. New immersive technologies allowing people to touch – and even smell – at a distance, are also highlighted.

Further detail on these technologies is explained in a series of videos we have published alongside today’s report.

 

17th December 2020

Broadband and mobile coverage across the UK revealed

Eight million UK homes can now access gigabit-speed broadband – fast, reliable connections that are fit for the future – Ofcom has found in its annual Connected Nations report.

Connected Nations analyses the availability of broadband and mobile services across the UK and each of its nations. This year’s report comes as millions of people continue to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen a significant shift in when, where and how people get online and make calls.

Nearly eight million UK homes (27%) can get gigabit broadband, which includes full fibre services and Virgin Media’s fastest cable package. Availability of full-fibre broadband has also increased to five million homes in the UK (18%).

Mobile operators have also continued to roll out 5G services, while mobile coverage is generally in-line with last year.

Further data on the availability of broadband and mobile services is included in the report, along with analysis of how networks coped with increased demand during the coronavirus lockdown period.

A news release is available.

 

11th December 2020

Ofcom’s Proposed Plan of Work 2021/2022

Ofcom has today published its proposed 2021/22 Plan of Work, outlining its priorities for the next financial year.

We are publishing these proposals as the coronavirus continues to present challenges for people and businesses across the UK. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that high-quality, reliable communications services have been more important than ever to people’s lives.

So we are setting out our proposed strategic priorities to make sure Ofcom plays its part in addressing the challenges of today, and the future.

Our proposed strategic priorities for the next financial year

  • Investment in strong, secure networks. Supporting ongoing investment in faster broadband and better quality mobile networks. Includes working with industry to ensure the UK’s vital communications networks are safe, secure and resilient.
  • Getting everyone connected. Working to ensure people and businesses can access key communications services – including in the hardest to reach locations. Includes monitoring delivery of the universal broadband service and the Shared Rural Network. We will also work to make sure the universal postal service is sustainable for the future.
  • Fairness for customers. Continuing our work to ensure broadband, phone and TV customers – particularly those who are vulnerable – can shop around with confidence, switch easily and are treated fairly.
  • Supporting and developing UK broadcasting. Supporting the UK’s vibrant media sector, including public service broadcasting, and helping them to meet the changing needs of viewers and listeners. We will also continue to monitor and report on the BBC’s performance.
  • Preparing to regulate online harms. We will complete the introduction of the new regime regulating UK-established video-sharing platforms. The UK Government has also stated that it is minded to appoint Ofcom as the regulator for online harms and we are preparing for this potential new role.
  • In addition, we will also take steps to ensure we are well positioned to carry out our duties both now and in the future. This includes:
    • Strengthening Ofcom for the future. As our sectors and our duties are increasingly shaped by online services, we will evolve our skills, develop innovative working practices and build a diverse workforce that reflects the whole of the UK.
    • Developing new partnerships. We will develop new – and build on existing – domestic and international partnerships with regulators, academia, governments, industry and organisations across sectors we regulate.

    We welcome responses to our proposed Plan of Work by 5 pm on 5 February 2021. We will also be holding a number of virtual events to gain feedback on our proposed plan, with more information available on our website. The final plan is set for release in March 2021.

 

2nd December 2020

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: December 2020

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

Regular updates

  • Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
  • Television broadcast licensing update
  • Radio licensing monthly update
  • Telecoms
  • Better broadband speeds information – extended deadline for live sync speed estimates
  • Correction to our statement on implementing the new European Electronic Communications Code
  • Letters to mobile operators on Shared Rural Network plans
  • Clarification on our copper retirement consultation
  • Final directions applying Code powers to Broadreach Networks Ltd, Simply Fibre Ltd, Wessex Internet Ltd and Wildanet Ltd
  • Spectrum
  • Statement on the making of a limitation order in connection with the award of 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum
  • Post
  • Post volumes and revenues
  • Research
  • Power BI: Fixed broadband speeds (May 2020 data)
  • Covid-19 news and info tracker
  • Making Sense of Media network bulletin
  • Telecoms data revenues, volumes and market share update Q2 2020
  • Technology Tracker – notification of changes

Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update 
The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for November 2020. At the end of November 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.37 million. There are 4.25 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.08 million.

Television broadcast licensing update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.

Radio licensing monthly update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors.

Better broadband speeds information – extended deadline for live sync speed estimates
We have extended the deadline for providers that are signed up to the broadband speeds codes of practice to implement live sync speed estimates, from 15 November 2020 to 13 December 2020, due to the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the necessary upgrades some providers need to make to do this.

Correction to our statement on implementing the new European Electronic Communications Code
We have published a revised version of Annex 5 to our October 2020 statement in order to make a correction to Table 4 of the Annex. We have also clarified certain implementation deadlines.

Letters to mobile operators on SRN plans
We have published letters to each of the four mobile network operators regarding their initial radio plans for the Shared Rural Network (SRN). The SRN aims to improve mobile coverage across the UK.

Clarification on our copper retirement consultation
We have published changes to Table 2.2 in Annex 5 of our October 2020 consultation, and also taken the opportunity to make some other small technical amendments.

Final directions applying Code powers to Broadreach Networks Ltd, Simply Fibre Ltd, Wessex Internet Ltd and Wildanet Ltd
Ofcom has confirmed that, pursuant to the Electronic Communications Code and following consultation, Code powers have now been granted to Broadreach Networks Ltd, Simply Fibre Ltd, Wessex Internet Ltd and Wildanet Ltd.

Statement on the making of a limitation order in connection with the award of 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum 
Ofcom has confirmed the making of a limitation order in connection with the award of 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz GHz spectrum.

Post volumes and revenues
Data showing total UK revenues and volumes for parcels and addressed letters.

Power BI: Fixed broadband speeds (May 2020 data)
This is an interactive version of a bi-annual update to our home broadband speeds data.

Covid-19 news and info tracker
Ofcom’s regular research into how people are getting news and information about Covid-19. This publication covers week 33 since the initial lockdown earlier this year and reveals that nine in 10 people (90%) accessed news about Covid-19 at least once a day compared to almost everyone (99%) in week one.

Making Sense of Media network bulletin
Regular round-up of Ofcom’s and other organisations’ media literacy initiatives, research, and events. This month’s Bulletin focused on the Making Sense of Media Network event on disinformation. The event was held to coincide with UNESCO’s Global Media and Information Literacy week.

Telecoms data revenues, volumes and market share update Q2 2020
This quarterly update highlights trends from the data Ofcom collects on the UK telecoms sector.

Technology Tracker – notification of changes
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Ofcom has made the decision to suspend all face-to-face fieldwork. This document details the alternative methodology that we will use to complete 2021 Technology Tracker fieldwork, and the impact this will have on the 2021 dataset.

13th November 2020

Latest telecoms and pay-TV complaints revealed

Ofcom has today published the latest league tables on the complaints we receive about the UK’s major home phone, broadband, mobile and pay-TV firms.

The quarterly report reveals the number of complaints made to Ofcom between April and June this year, about firms that provide home broadband, landline telephone, pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV. We include all providers with a market share over 1.5%.

This report covers the first full three months of the initial Covid-19 lockdown, during which many people across the UK were working and learning from home.

4th November 2020

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: November 2020

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

Regular updates

  • Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
  • Television broadcast licensing update
  • Radio licensing monthly update
  • Telecoms
  • Final directions applying Code powers to Commsworld Ltd and Yesfibre Ltd
  • Broadcasting
  • Television and on-demand services: access services report Jan-June 2020
  • Small-scale DAB stakeholder presentations, videos and Q&A
  • Research
  • Telecoms data revenues, volumes and market share update Q1 2020
  • Commercial radio revenues
  • Community radio revenues and expenses
  • Notification of changes to Ofcom’s News Consumption survey and Cross-Platform Media Tracker survey
  • Regular bi-annual update of broadband measurement data published to stats calendar
  • People’s access and response to news and information about Covid-19

Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update

The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for October 2020. At the end of October 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.43 million. There are 4.26 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.07 million.

Television broadcast licensing update

Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.

Radio licensing monthly update

Information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors.

Final directions applying Code powers to Commsworld Ltd and Yesfibre Ltd

Ofcom has confirmed that, pursuant to the Electronic Communications Code and following consultation, Code powers have now been granted to Commsworld Ltd and Yesfibre Ltd.

Television and on-demand services: access services report Jan-June 2020

Report on levels of subtitles, audio description and/or signing provided by broadcast TV and on-demand services in the first half of 2020.

Small-scale DAB Stakeholder presentations, videos and Q&A summaries

Publication of material from our Small-scale DAB stakeholder event – including presentations, videos and Q&A.

Telecoms data revenues, volumes and market share update Q1 2020

This quarterly update highlights trends from the data Ofcom collects on the UK telecoms sector.

Commercial radio revenues

Ofcom data showing revenues for the commercial radio sector in the UK.

Community radio revenues and expenses

Ofcom data showing revenues for the community radio sector in the UK.

Regular bi-annual update of broadband measurement data

This is a bi-annual update to our home broadband speeds data.

Notification of changes to Ofcom’s News Consumption survey and Cross-Platform Media Tracker survey

Notification of changes to the methodology of Ofcom’s News Consumption survey and Cross-Platform Media Tracker survey. The changes follow Ofcom’s decision to suspend face-to-face fieldwork interviews due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

People’s access and response to news and information about Covid-19

Latest wave of research on how people are receiving and acting on news and information about Covid-19 covering This report, covering the 29th week since the start of the UK’s spring lockdown, reveals that nine in 10 people (88%) accessed news about Covid-19 at least once a day.

 

27th October 2020

Mobile firms to be banned from selling ‘locked’ handsets

Mobile phone companies will be banned from selling ‘locked’ handsets, under a range of new rules from Ofcom that will make switching even simpler.

Some companies – including BT/EE, Tesco Mobile and Vodafone – still sell mobile phones that cannot be used on other networks unless they are unlocked, a potentially complicated process which can also cost around £10. Ofcom research has found that more than a third (35%) of people who decided against switching said this put them off.

So following consultation, we have confirmed that mobile companies will be banned from selling locked phones – allowing people to move to a different network with their existing handset, hassle-free. The new rules will come in from December 2021.

The ban on selling locked handsets is part of a broad package of measures Ofcom is introducing to make switching easier and help ensure customers are treated fairly, most of which reflect new European rules. This also includes:

  • new rules that mean telecoms customers will get a summary of the main terms of their contract in writing – before they sign up; and
  • changes to our accreditation scheme for price comparison tools, to make sure the information provided by these services is trustworthy, impartial and transparent – while still allowing them to innovate.

A news release is available.

 

8th October 2020

Mobile Matters: Ofcom research on how people used their mobile phones during lockdown

New Ofcom research sheds light on people’s experiences of using their smartphones.

Ofcom’s Mobile Matters report analyses how around 200,000 people used their Android mobile phone between 1 January and 30 April 2020 – highlighting how people’s use of mobile phones changed during the lockdown.

The research reveals the average length of mobile calls in April was 5 minutes 26 seconds – up from 3 minutes 40 seconds before the coronavirus restrictions came in.

The research also highlights changes in where people used their mobile phones. With many people working from home, the city centres of all four of the UK’s capitals saw a drop in mobile activity, while activity increased in areas such as parks and open spaces.

A news release is available.

6th October 2020

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: October 2020

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

Regular updates

  • Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
  • Television broadcast licensing update
  • Radio licensing monthly update
  • Telecoms
  • Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review: further clarifications
  • Moving Freeview to make more airwaves available for mobile: the ‘700 MHz Clearance Programme’
  • Final directions applying Code powers to 5ibre Ltd, Facto Ltd, Neutralone Ltd and Westnetworks Innovations Ltd
  • Technical Guidance for WISPs on responding to information requests
  • Media
  • Making Sense of Media Network Bulletin
  • Public Service Broadcasting Network Compliance report
  • ‘Made Outside London’ programme titles register 2019
  • Online
  • Ofcom’s response to the European Commission’s consultation on the Digital Strategy
  • Research
  • Residential and business postal trackers Q3 2019 to Q2 2020
  • Broadband and device access among households with children

Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update

The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for September 2020. At the end of September 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.49 million. There are 4.28 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.07 million.

Television broadcast licensing update

Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.

Radio licensing monthly update

Information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors. This month’s update contains details for the upcoming application window for short-term restricted service licences (‘SRSLs’), for broadcasting between 9 April and 14 May 2021.

Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review: further clarifications

In response to stakeholder queries, we have published clarifications to our consultation on pricing wholesale local access services in Geographic Area 3 with a BT commitment to deploy a fibre network. Also, in response to a query from Openreach, we have published a clarification on our proposed approach to setting prices for dark fibre services.

Moving Freeview to make more airwaves available for mobile: the ‘700 MHz Clearance Programme’

This update sets out information on the completion of the clearance of the 700 MHz airwaves.

Final directions applying Code powers to 5ibre Ltd, Facto Ltd, Westnetworks Innovations Ltd and Neutralone Ltd

Ofcom has confirmed that, pursuant to the Electronic Communications Code and following consultation, Code powers have now been granted to 5ibre Ltd, Facto Ltd, Neutralone Ltd and Westnetworks Innovations Ltd.

Technical Guidance for WISPs on responding to information requests

This guidance has been produced with the UK Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (UK WISPA) to help wireless broadband providers understand how best to respond to Ofcom information requests, which are used to inform our Connected Nations data.

Making Sense of Media Network Bulletin

Regular round-up of Ofcom and stakeholder media literacy initiatives, research, and events. This month’s bulletin focuses on back-to-school resources, disinformation and initiatives tackling digital exclusion during the Covid-19 ‘lockdown’.

Public Service Broadcasting Network Compliance Report

Reporting the PSBs’ compliance with programme and output quotas set out under the Communications Act 2003, or the BBC Charter and Agreement, or in European legislation.

Made outside London programme titles register 2019

A list of the programmes produced by the PSBs outside of the M25, and the criteria against which each programme qualifies as ‘Made Outside London’.

Ofcom’s response to the European Commission’s consultation on the Digital Strategy

Ofcom’s contribution to the European Commission’s consultation on their five-year plan to shape Europe’s digital future. Our response draws on our recent relevant experience and learnings around the issues being considered.

Residential and business postal trackers Q3 2019 to Q2 2020

Datasets of postal tracking surveys conducted in Q3 2019 to Q2 2020, providing data on residential and SME consumers’ use of post and attitudes to postal services.

Research: Broadband and device access among UK households with children

Updated analysis looking on the proportion of UK households with children who do not have access to the internet at home, or do not have access to connected devices. This analysis forms part of Ofcom’s wider research into usability and accessibility.

 

 

29th September 2020

Ofcom’s Plan of Work – quarterly update

Ofcom has today published an update to its Plan of Work for 2020/2021.

When publishing our plan in April this year, we committed to issuing quarterly updates – to reflect the constantly evolving coronavirus situation. Today’s update reiterates our commitment to delivering our workplan, based on the following areas:

  • Better broadband and mobile – wherever you are;
  • Fairness for customers;
  • Supporting UK broadcasting;
  • Ensuring online communications work for people and businesses;
  • Enabling strong, secure networks;
  • Sustaining the universal postal service;
  • Continuing to innovate in regulation and data to help people and businesses;
  • Increasing diversity and inclusion; and
  • Support through the EU exit transition period and continued international relationships.

Today’s update also confirms we are broadly on track to deliver our plan, with any changes to project milestones highlighted in the update.

 

1st September 2020

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: September 2020
This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.
This month’s update covers:
• Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
• Television broadcast licensing update
• Radio licensing monthly update
• Letters: Publication of our granting of consent for launch of Sky Arts on DTT
• Qualitative research study on declining calls and changing behaviour
• Cost models for consultation on BT’s commitment in Area 3
• Co-regulation of on-demand advertising
Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for August 2020. At the end of August 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.55 million. There are 4.28 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.06 million.
Television broadcast licensing update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.
Radio licensing monthly update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors.
Letters: Publication of our granting of consent for launch of Sky Arts on DTT
Ofcom has granted consent for the launch of Sky Arts on digital terrestrial television (DTT).
Qualitative research study on declining calls and changing behaviour
Research into why the volume of landline calls has declined.
Cost models for consultation on BT’s commitment in Area 3
In July, we published updated proposals for how we will set Openreach’s wholesale prices in what is known as Geographic Area 3, in light of BT’s new commitment to extend its fibre network to a further 3.2 million rural properties. Since then, we have published cost models that support this consultation.

Co-regulation of on-demand advertising in the UK
Confirmation that the ASA will continue to be designated by Ofcom to co-regulate on-demand advertising in the UK.

 

21st August 2020

Best and worst telecoms customer service revealed
Ofcom today reveals which broadband and phone companies get the best and worst satisfaction scores from their customers.
Our annual research report gives independent insights into the customer service provided by the UK’s major telecoms firms, up to January this year – before the coronavirus pandemic unfolded. We look at several markers, including overall satisfaction levels with individual providers and the number of customers with a reason to complain.
We have also today published our review of the Automatic Compensation scheme. This looks at how the voluntary scheme is working, since first launching in April 2019.
A news release is available.

19th August 2020

Latest research on people’s access and response to news and information about Covid-19

Ofcom has today published its regular research on how people are receiving and acting on news and information during the coronavirus pandemic.

The report summarises the findings from week 20 of ‘lockdown’, including how people’s experiences and behaviour has changed from previous weeks.

In week 20:

·        around eight in 10 respondents (83%) continue to access news about Covid-19 at least once a day, down from 99% in week one. Fewer than one in 20 people access news about that pandemic at least 20 times a day (vs. 24% in week one);

·        use of social media as a source of information about the pandemic has decreased (29% in week 20 vs. 49% in week one). Fewer people are also sharing Covid-19 related news via social media (9% in week 20 vs. 25% in week one);

·        claims that face-masks/coverings offer no protection or are harmful are now the most common pieces of misinformation (from a pre-selected list) that people come across (seen by 30%);

·        only 15% of participants reported seeing misinformation linking Covid-19 to 5G technology in week 20, compared to 50% in week three.

Alongside this month’s report, we have published more detailed information on how the pandemic has affected our online and TV viewing behaviour.

 

13th August 2020

Ofcom review of wholesale call markets

Ofcom has today published a consultation on our proposals for regulating the wholesale markets that underpin landline and mobile telephone calls in the UK. These would apply to the period between April 2021 and March 2026.

Call termination

When people call a UK mobile or landline number, the caller’s network provider pays a wholesale charge to the recipient’s phone company for connecting the call. This is called a ‘termination rate’.

To continue to protect customers from high prices, we propose capping termination rates for calls made and received in the UK, based on the cost of connecting a call. Our proposals include:

  • For calls to mobiles, our base case proposal is a cap of 0.389p per minute, which is lower than the current cap of 0.468p per minute. We also propose to continue applying this mobile termination cap to calls to ‘070’ numbers.
  • For calls to landlines, we propose to maintain the current cap of 0.0292p per minute in real terms.
  • When someone calls a UK number from abroad, we propose that UK providers should charge no more than the rate they are charged when their customers make calls to that international destination.

Call origination and interconnection

Currently, some phone companies use BT’s wholesale ‘call origination’ service to enable their customers to make calls on their landline. Over the next few years, landline calls will be increasingly carried over more modern, Internet Protocol (IP) networks. So we propose to deregulate wholesale call origination, as providers will no longer need to purchase it from BT.

As industry moves away from using the traditional telephone network, we expect companies will increasingly interconnect with each other using the more modern IP interconnection networks. So we have set out how we intend to regulate BT’s IP interconnection service.

Today’s consultation closes on 8 October, and we intend to publish our final decisions before the new regulation takes effect in April 2021.

 

5th August 2020

Media Nations 2020: lockdown leads to surge in TV screen time and streaming

A surge in screen time during lockdown saw UK adults spend 40% of their waking day watching TV and online video services, Ofcom has found in its annual study of the nation’s media habits.

As people across the UK followed official health advice to stay home during April 2020, they kept themselves informed and entertained by spending six hours and 25 minutes each day on average – or nearly 45 hours a week – watching TV and online video content – a rise of almost a third (31%) on last year.

The biggest factor behind this increase was people spending twice as much time watching subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video – one hour 11 minutes per day on average in April 2020. These services attracted around 12 million new subscribers during lockdown, of whom around 3 million had never subscribed to one before.

In summary, the report also finds that:

  • subscription streaming services are proving increasingly popular among older generations; one third (32%) of 55-64 year olds, and 15% of people aged 65+ used them in the early weeks of lockdown;
  • Disney+ overtakes NOW TV as third most-popular paid-for streaming platform, and leapfrogs use of BBC iPlayer among youngest kids;
  • the overwhelming majority of online adults signed up to Netflix (96%), Amazon Prime Video (91%) and Disney+ (84%) said they plan to keep their subscriptions in the months ahead;
  • as lockdown measures eased towards the end of June, the uplift in viewing to video streaming services and other non-broadcast content services held steady, at 71% higher than the year;
  • the public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – achieved their highest combined monthly share of broadcast TV viewing in more than six years in March (59%), driven by a demand for trusted news programmes; but
  • this boost was short-lived as the pandemic interrupted production of soaps, major sporting events and entertainment shows. By June 2020 the PSBs’ combined monthly share of broadcast TV viewing fell to 55%, its lowest level since August 2019.

A news release with more detailed findings is available.

Today’s publication is also accompanied by reports focusing on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, along with an interactive report.

A qualitative research study, Children’s Media Lives – Life in Lockdown also explores how the pandemic has changed children’s media use and how they behave and interact online.

 

4th August 2020

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: August 2020

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

  • Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
  • Television broadcast licensing update
  • Radio licensing monthly update
  • Community Radio Fund End of year report: 2019-20
  • Final directions applying Code powers to Obelisk Networks (UK) Ltd, NATS (Services) Ltd, Liberty Charge Ltd, CloudHQ Didcot Fibre GP Ltd, MGMT Ltd, Orbital Net Ltd and Secure Web Services Ltd
  • Moving Freeview to make more airwaves available for mobile – the ‘700 MHz Clearance Programme’
  • Update: Diversity at Ofcom 2019/2020
  • Research: Online communications services
  • Research: Internet and device access among households with children
  • Licencing process: Rugby – Pre-advertisement of local analogue commercial radio licence

Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for July 2020. At the end of July 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.06 million. There are 4.28 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.06 million.

Television broadcast licensing update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.

Radio licensing monthly update
Information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors.

Community Radio Fund end of year report: 2019-20
A report setting out how Ofcom administered the Community Radio Fund in 2019/20. It details how much money was awarded, which stations were successful in receiving grants and what the grants will be used for.

Final directions applying Code powers to Obelisk Networks (UK) Ltd, NATS (Services) Ltd, Liberty Charge Ltd, CloudHQ Didcot Fibre GP Ltd, MGMT Ltd, Orbital Net Ltd and Secure Web Services Ltd
Ofcom has confirmed that, pursuant to the Electronic Communications Code and following consultation, Code powers have now been granted to Obelisk Networks (UK) Ltd, NATS (Services) Ltd, Liberty Charge Ltd, CloudHQ Didcot Fibre GP Ltd, MGMT Ltd, Orbital Net Ltd and Secure Web Services Ltd.

Moving Freeview to make more airwaves available for mobile – the ‘700 MHz Clearance Programme’
This update sets out information on the revised timescale for delivering clearance of the 700 MHz band now that working restrictions related to Covid-19 are being eased.

Update: Diversity at Ofcom 2019/2020
An interim update on the overall diversity of colleagues across Ofcom, ahead of our new diversity and inclusion strategy to be published this autumn.

Research: Online communications services
Qualitative research to understand consumers’ use of, and attitudes towards, traditional and online services, and whether their needs are currently being met by these services.

Research: Internet and device access among households with children
Analysis looking at the proportion of UK households, with under 18’s, who do not have access, or have limited access, to the internet or connected devices at home. The research looks at the likelihood of digital exclusion among these households, by socio-economic group.

Licencing process: Rugby – Pre-advertisement of local analogue commercial radio licence
Ofcom invites declarations of intent for the commercial analogue licence for the Rugby area.

 

23rd July 2020

Ofcom Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20

Ofcom has today published its Annual Report and Accounts for the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

We have also published our Section 400 Accounts, with details of receipts from licence fee payments and financial penalties, and a progress update on our Plan of Work for 2020/21.

 

8th July 2020

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: July 2020

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

·        Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update

·        Television broadcast licensing update

·        Radio licensing monthly update

·        Stats Act: News consumption survey technical report

·        Telecoms data revenues, volumes and market share update Q4 2019

·        BBC performance tracker 2019/20

·        BBC complaints process determination

·        Final directions applying Code powers to M 12 Solutions Ltd and Redshelf Ltd

·        Making Sense of Media Quarterly Bulletin

Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update

The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for June 2020. At the end of June 2020, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.67 million. There are 4.28 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 2.04 million.

Television broadcast licensing update

Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.

Radio licensing monthly update

Information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regard to both the commercial and community radio sectors.

Stats Act: News consumption survey technical report

Raw data tables into news consumption across television, radio, print and online among children and adults.

Telecoms data revenues, volumes and market share update Q4 2019

This quarterly update highlights trends from the data Ofcom collects on the UK telecoms sector.

BBC performance tracker 2019/20

Publication of the Ofcom BBC Performance Tracker Technical Report, detailing the methodology, sampling and weighting for the third year of the tracker.

BBC complaints process determination and associated correspondence

Publication of a determination which formally requires the BBC to be more transparent in explaining its decisions on editorial standards complaints. Specifically, the BBC must explain its reasoning for decisions on final stage – or “stage two”– complaints within two weeks of a final decision being reached.

Final directions applying Code Powers to M 12 Solutions Ltd and Redshelf Ltd

Ofcom has confirmed that, pursuant to the Electronic Communications Code and following consultation, Code powers have now been granted to M 12 Solutions Ltd and Redshelf Ltd.

Making Sense of Media Quarterly Bulletin

Quarterly bulletin to Ofcom’s Making Sense of Media network member summarising Ofcom’s and other organisations’ media literacy initiatives, research, and events.

24th June 2020

UK’s internet use surges to record levels

UK adults are now spending more than a quarter of their waking day online – the highest on record – with services such as TikTok and Zoom seeing unprecedented growth, according to Ofcom’s latest study into the nation’s online lives.

Ofcom’s annual Online Nation report – an in-depth study of how people use the internet – reveals that during the height of lockdown, UK adults spent a daily average of four hours and two minutes online – up from just under three and a half hours in September last year.

The study also reveals how coronavirus is changing the way we communicate. The proportion of UK online adults making video calls at least weekly has doubled during lockdown (from 35% to 71%). Zoom (659,000 adult internet users in January and 13 million in April) and Houseparty (175,000 versus 4 million) have rapidly grown their user bases.

Video-sharing sites and apps are also surging in popularity. TikTok, for example, reached 12.9 million UK adult visitors in April, up from just 5.4 million in January. One third (32%) of online adults now spend more time viewing video-sharing services than traditional TV, and two in five of us now create and upload videos ourselves.

The research also encompasses findings from our joint study with the Information Commissioner’s Office into Online Harms and our Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes report 2020.

All of today’s reports are available on our website, along with a news release summarising the findings

 

16th June 2020

Ofcom launches new Information Registry

Ofcom has launched a new dedicated unit to strengthen the way it collects information from industry.

The data we receive from our statutory information requests plays a vital role in informing the decisions we make to support people and businesses. It also helps to shine a light on how the markets we regulate are evolving and any issues we may need to take action to address.

The wide range of work we are responsible for means companies can receive a number of information requests throughout the year. We have considered industry feedback on this and have now launched the Information Registry – a dedicated team that will oversee a new streamlined process for the requests we send to industry, focused initially on our consumer and competition work.

This will give companies a single point of contact for receiving and responding to requests – as well as managing any queries companies have relating to information requests.

Following a pause in March on sending new requests to allow companies to manage the emerging challenges presented by the coronavirus, we are now starting sending information requests again as we continue our work programme for 2020/21. The Information Registry will co-ordinate new requests.

26th May 2020

Latest research on people’s access and response to news and information about Covid-19

Ofcom has today published its regular research on how people are receiving and acting on news and information during the coronavirus pandemic.

The report summarises the findings from week eight of the ‘lockdown’, including how people’s experiences and behaviour has changed from previous weeks.

In week eight:

more than nine in ten respondents (92%) are still accessing news about Covid-19 at least once a day;

  • the frequency with which people access news continues to decline. Fewer than one in ten respondents (8%) currently access news about the pandemic at least twenty times a day, compared with almost a quarter (24%) in week one;
  • a third of respondents (33%) say they are trying to avoid news about coronavirus. Those aged 25-34 remain most likely to say they are avoiding news on Covid-19 (43%); and
  • 43% of people say they have come across false or misleading information about Covid-19, down slightly from week one. False claims linking 5G to the virus remain the most commonly seen pieces of misinformation (35%), in-line with recent weeks but down from 50% in week three.The data reveals that:
  • Alongside this report, Ofcom has published new data from BARB on people’s television viewing habits during lockdown.
  • March saw the public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV and STV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C – achieve their highest share of TV viewing so far this year (58.8%);
  • the average number of minutes that people spent watching TV in May is higher than in the previous four years; and
  • the weekly reach of broadcast TV news is gradually declining since peaking in the first week of ‘lockdown’, but it still remains far higher than previous years.

We now publish findings on public access and response to news and information about Covid-19 on a fortnightly basis. Our next full report is due on Tuesday 9 June. Our interactive data report will continue to be updated on a weekly basis.

19th May 2020

Latest research on people’s access and response to news and information about Covid-19

Ofcom has today updated its interactive report with the latest data on how people are receiving and acting on news and information during the coronavirus pandemic. The data covers week seven of the ‘lockdown’.

We have also conducted video interviews with a small panel of people as part of our Adults’ Media Lives study and published the findings. We asked participants to share how their media habits have changed during the early weeks of lockdown, and how they are staying informed.

 

18th May 2020

Ofcom appoints Alison Marsden as Director of Content Standards, Licensing and Enforcement

Ofcom has today announced that Alison Marsden has been appointed as Director of Content Standards, Licensing and Enforcement.

Alison will be leading the team with responsibility for setting and enforcing content standards for television, radio and on-demand services and Ofcom’s broadcast licensing programme.

She will also sit on Ofcom’s Content Board, a committee of the main Ofcom Board, which has advisory responsibility for a wide range of content issues.

A news release is available.

 

15th May 2020

Update on Ofcom’s auction plans and consultation on technical model

Ofcom has today published a consultation on one aspect of the technical modelling in its statement on the award of spectrum in the 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz bands.

These airwaves are important for helping improve mobile services and support 5G – bringing benefits to mobile users and the wider economy. So we want to see the spectrum put to use as soon as possible, and we remain committed to releasing the airwaves through an auction.

One company said that it had hoped to be able to comment on the use of a technical model which informed part of the decisions in our statement on the award of this spectrum, published in March. So today we have published more information about that model and adjusted some of the results we published in our statement.

The revised results, remain consistent with our view that it is likely to be technically feasible to support a wide range of 5G services with holdings of 5G ready spectrum smaller than 80 MHz.

We welcome comments on the matters set out in this consultation by 12 June 2020.

Auction plans

We are separately considering how our processes for running spectrum auctions securely and safely could be adapted to the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our priority will be both to ensure the appropriate personal safety of those involved and the integrity of the process – in particular its security and resilience.

For these reasons, we do not think it would be appropriate to commence the auction itself until we are reasonably confident it can be completed without interruption.

If there is no litigation of our final auction decision, following today’s further consultation, we consider that the earliest bidding could start is November 2020. We recognise that this is dependent on how the Government’s plans for lifting the current lockdown restrictions evolve.

We also welcome industry’s views on how they would operate secure bidding processes in these circumstances.

13th May 2020

Jonathan Oxley to step down

Ofcom has today announced that Jonathan Oxley, Group Director for Competition and Board member, has decided to step down.

Jonathan joined Ofcom in November 2014 and has overseen Ofcom’s important work to improve competition in the UK communications sector, helping to raise standards, protect people and ensure good value for consumers.

Jonathan also agreed to step up to be interim Chief Executive last year until a new Chief Executive was appointed.

Jonathan said: “Ofcom is an organisation that I will always admire because of the dedication of its people. Everyone is absolutely focused on helping to improve communications services for people and business across the UK.

“I had always planned to look for a new challenge after five years at Ofcom, but when Terry asked me to stay on to become interim Chief Executive, I was privileged to take on the role. I’m now going to take a break before deciding what to do next. I know Ofcom will go from strength to strength under the leadership of Dame Melanie Dawes.”

Lord Burns, Ofcom’s Chairman, said: “I am grateful to Jonathan for his significant contribution to Ofcom’s work. He agreed to my request to step up to become interim Chief Executive last year and did a great job, and has been an important voice on the Ofcom Board. We will be sorry to see Jonathan go and he leaves with our thanks and best wishes.”

Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom’s Chief Executive, said: “Jonathan has been a great support to me and has done a fantastic job as Group Director, Board member and recently as interim Chief Executive. He will be missed by me and colleagues across the organisation.”

Jonathan steps down at the end of June and will continue to attend Ofcom’s Board until that date.

David Clarkson, currently acting Competition Group Director, will continue acting in this role.

A news release is available.

 

 

11th May 2020

Children’s access and response to news and information about Covid-19

Ofcom has today published research on how children aged 12-15 are receiving and acting on news and information during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The research, which is based on the responses of over 500 children and covers weeks three and four of the ‘lockdown’, shows that:

  • nearly all 12-15 year olds (96%) said they had accessed news about Covid-19 in the last week;
  • ninety-two per cent of 12-15s who speak to family members for news about the virus are confident their relatives tell them the truth about it. The BBC’s reporting on the pandemic is also highly trusted by those children that use it (87%);
  • children are more likely to turn to BBC TV than other broadcasters for news about the outbreak (49%), compared with a third who use ITV (30%) and a fifth who get information from Sky (21%);
  • just under half of 12-15s use social media as a source of information about the virus (48%), with YouTube (20%), Facebook or Facebook Messenger (20%) and Instagram (18%), proving most popular;
  • half of children (52%) agree that they are finding it hard to know what is true or false about Covid-19; and
  • a clear majority of children agree that the crisis is showing good things about our country, such as more support for the NHS (83%).
  • Separately, we have also published our latest weekly research which shows UK adults’ consumption of news and information about the coronavirus. During week six of lockdown:
  • the majority of respondents (94%) continued to access news about the coronavirus at least once a day. But only 8% of people now access news about the pandemic at least 20 times a day, compared with a quarter (24%) in week one;
  • women are more likely than men to be actively avoiding news about the virus (37% vs. 29%); and
  • fewer people have come across false or misleading information about Coronavirus in the last week (47% vs. 50% in week five). Only 4% of people forwarded or shared the misinformation, compared with 7% in week one.

We will now be publishing the key findings from this research on a fortnightly basis, with our next full report due on Tuesday 26 May. Our interactive data report will continue to be updated on a weekly basis.

 

 

5th May 2020

Latest research on people’s access and response to news and information about Covid-19

Ofcom has today published its latest weekly research on how people are receiving and acting on news and information during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The report summarises the findings from week five of the ‘lockdown’, including how people’s experiences and behaviour has changed since the previous weeks.

The research, which also includes early findings on how the pandemic is impacting our online behaviour, shows that:

  • adult internet users in the UK spent 17 minutes longer online on average each day in March compared to January;
  • eight times as many online adults in the UK used video conferencing service Zoom in March than in February, while 35 times as many used group video chatting service, Houseparty;
  • online adults visited the BBC’s news website or app an additional 19 times on average in March compared to previous months, and spent an 24 extra minutes viewing the content;
  • In week five of lockdown:
  • the frequency with which people accessed news and information about Covid-19 continued to fall; just one in 10 people now access news about the virus at least 20 times a day, compared with a quarter (24%) in week one;
  • the proportion of people who are actively seeking to avoid news about the pandemic continued to increase (34%), up from 22% in week one;
  • use of social media as a source of information about the pandemic decreased – from 49% in week one to 34% in week five;
  • half of people (50%) came across false or misleading information about Covid-19. False claims linking 5G to the outbreak remain most common, but these are being seen less frequently (by 51% of people in week four, compared to 47% in week five); and
  • virtually all respondents continue to say they are closely following the official advice about practising social distancing (97%), only going outside for essential things (96%) and washing hands regularly (91%).
  • A report examining consumption of news and information about Covid-19 by ethnicity, covering weeks one to four of the lockdown, is also available. It finds, among other things, that social media is a more popular source for accessing news and information about Covid-19 among minority ethnic groups (54%) than adults from a white ethnic group (40%). A higher proportion of adults from a minority ethnic background (47%) also say they are finding it hard to know what’s true and false about the coronavirus compared to white adults (35%).

The next wave of the research, covering week six of the lockdown, will be published on Tuesday 12 May 2020.

4th May 2020

Update: People experiencing fewer nuisance calls, but more work to do

Landline and mobile customers are experiencing fewer nuisance calls than they were three years ago, according to latest research from Ofcom.

The findings are included in an update to the joint action plan to tackle nuisance calls and messages, published today by Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Nuisance calls tracking research

In January 2020, two in five (39%) customers reported that they’d received a nuisance call on their landline telephone – down from 61% in May 2017. The proportion of mobile customers experiencing a nuisance call also fell from 47% to 37% during the same period.

Complaints about nuisance calls

The ICO received around 37,000 fewer complaints about nuisance calls and messages than it did five years ago – 129,354 in 2019 vs. 166,663 in 2015 (-22%). Similarly, Ofcom received half the amount of complaints about silent and abandoned calls in 2019 (27,869) than it did in 2015 (49,648), when complaints were at their peak.

More work to do

Nuisance calls are an unwanted interruption to our daily lives. They can also cause anxiety and distress, or result in customers being scammed by fraudsters. So while it’s encouraging that progress is being made, there is still much more to do to make sure people are protected from harm.

Today’s action plan therefore summarises our ongoing technical work to tackle the problem, including blocking nuisance calls at source, as well as the coordinated effort by the banking and telecoms industry to tackle scams, led by Stop Scams UK. The update sets out the ICO’s and Ofcom’s joint priorities for the coming year.

Covid-19 scams

The ICO and Ofcom are also aware of reports of scams related to Covid-19 and are working to help protect customers against these.

Ofcom has published advice for consumers on how to recognise and deal with Covid-19 scam calls and texts. Further advice for people on how to protect themselves against unwanted calls and messages more generally, is also available on our website.

 

30th April 2020

Ofcom’s Plan of Work for 2020/2021

We have today published Ofcom’s Plan of Work 2020/21 – setting out our priorities and work programme for the new financial year.

Since consulting on our draft plan in January, the coronavirus pandemic has brought significant challenges to the sectors we regulate. Much of the nation is working, learning and keeping in touch with family using vital communications services from home. So reliable phone and broadband, post and parcel deliveries and high-quality TV and radio programmes have never been more important.

Throughout this period, we have been working with industry to make sure people stay connected and continue to be informed and entertained. We welcome companies’ response to these challenges – including protecting access to critical services like 999 and 111 and prioritising support for vulnerable customers.

We have adapted our plan to take account of the exceptional circumstances that have unfolded since our consultation. As well as supporting people and businesses through the current challenges, we have an important programme of work planned for the next year.

Our work will be guided by the following strategic themes:

  • Better broadband and mobile – wherever you are;
  • Fairness for customers;
  • Supporting UK broadcasting;
  • Ensuring online communications work for people and businesses;
  • Enabling strong, secure networks;
  • Sustaining the universal postal service;
  • Continuing to innovate in regulation and data to help people and businesses;
  • Increasing diversity and inclusion; and
  • Support through the EU exit transition period and continued international relationships.

Our focus is on delivering the work we have planned in full over the course of this year. But we will monitor the evolving coronavirus situation closely and keep our plans flexible. To reflect this, we will publish an updated plan in September, as well as quarterly updates on our progress against the plan.

 

 

28th April 2020

Latest research on people’s access and response to news and information about Covid-19

Ofcom has today published its latest weekly research on how people are receiving and acting on news and information during the current coronavirus pandemic.

The report summarises the findings from week four of the ‘lockdown’, including how people’s experiences and behaviour has changed since the previous weeks. We have also provided a breakdown of the findings by Nation. The research shows, among other things, that:

  • people are not accessing news and information about Covid-19 as frequently; 12% of people now access news about the virus at least 20 times a day, compared with a quarter (24%) in week one;
  • more people (30%) are actively seeking to avoid news about the pandemic, up from 22% in week one;
  • 44% of people have come across false or misleading information about Covid-19, in line with week one. False claims linking 5G to the outbreak remain the most commonly seen pieces of misinformation (51%); and
  • virtually all respondents continue to say they are closely following the official advice about practising social distancing (98%), only going outside for essential things (97%) and washing hands regularly (92%).

The next wave of the research, covering week five of the ‘lockdown’, will be published on Tuesday 5 May 2020.

20th April 2020

Kevin Bakhurst appointed to the Ofcom Board

Ofcom has appointed Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom’s Content and Media Policy Group Director, to its Board.

Kevin joined Ofcom in 2016 and has overseen its important work on content standards and policy, including taking on regulation of the BBC and preparations to become the regulator for video sharing platforms in the UK. He will join as an Executive Member of the Board from this month.

A news release is available.

Ofcom publishes latest 5G measurement results

Ofcom has published the latest results from our spectrum measurement programme, including six additional 5G mobile sites.

Following the launch of 5G in the UK last year, we published the results of electromagnetic field (EMF) measurements at 16 UK sites, in February. We have continued our testing programme since then and have now published an updated version of our 5G measurement report – showing EMF levels at a total of 22 5G sites in 10 UK cities.

At every site, emissions were a small fraction of the levels included in international guidelines – set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

The maximum measured at any mobile site was approximately 1.5% of those levels – including signals from other mobile technologies such as 3G and 4G. The highest level from 5G signals specifically was 0.039% of the maximum set out in the international guidelines.

We will continue to publish data from our measurement programme, including at further 5G sites, regularly.

 

9th April 2020

Half of UK adults exposed to false claims about coronavirus

Almost half of UK online adults came across false or misleading information about coronavirus (Covid-19) in the last week, Ofcom has found.

Ofcom is conducting weekly research to help understand how people are receiving and acting on information during the current pandemic. Our findings from week one of the ‘lockdown’ show that:

  • the most common piece of false information around coronavirus is the claim that drinking more water can flush out the infection (seen by 35% of online adults). This is followed other claimed treatments – gargling with saltwater, or avoiding cold food and drink (both seen by 24%);
  • many people (40%) are finding it hard to know what is true or false about the virus. This rises to more than half (52%) of 18-24 year-olds;
  • virtually all people who took part in the survey said they are closely following the official advice – to practice social distancing (98%); only go outside for essential reasons (97%); and wash their hands regularly (96%);
  • almost all online adults (99%) are getting news and information about coronavirus at least once a day, while one in four (24%) are doing so 20 or more times each day. Conversely, more than one in five (22%) said they are trying to avoid news about the pandemic;
  • people are most likely to turn to the BBC’s TV, radio and online services for the latest news on the pandemic (82%), followed by other broadcasters (56%); and official sources such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), NHS and the Government (52%);
  • average daily news viewing across all channels was up by 92% in March 2020 compared to March 2019. Both BBC News and Sky News have also seen their viewing more than double year-on-year; and
  • public officials are the most trusted sources of news about coronavirus. Of those that use them, at least nine in 10 people trust information provided by the NHS (95%), the WHO (94%), their local health services (91%) official scientists (90%), and the Government (89%). Social media and closed messaging groups were the least trusted sources of news about the pandemic (21% and 26% respectively).
  • Access to accurate, trustworthy and credible sources of news and information has never been more important. So, with the support of our Making Sense of Media Panel and Network, Ofcom has also collected a set of resources to provide people with useful tools to navigate news and information about Covid-19.

A news release is available.

 

8th April 2020

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: April 2020

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

Limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) consultation FAQ
Document addressing the most asked questions we’ve received about our proposals to require spectrum license holders to comply with ICNIRP guidelines on electromagnetic field emissionspril 2020

 

 

1st April 2020

How broadband and mobile firms are protecting vulnerable customers during coronavirus pandemic

Keeping the UK’s communications networks going is more important than ever. So we welcome the efforts of the UK’s main broadband and mobile companies who have committed to helping their customers deal with issues they might face as a result of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Measures recently agreed with Ofcom and Government include supporting customers who are finding it difficult to pay their bills during the current situation; removing all data caps on broadband services; and offering new mobile and landline packages – including free calls – to help people stay in touch with each other.

The focus of providers right now must be on keeping people connected, especially those who need most support. So as a result of the unprecedented challenges industry is dealing with, we have provided advice about how they should comply with some of our rules at this time, with specific details on automatic compensation and the Broadband Speeds Code of Practice.

We are continuing to work closely with phone and broadband providers to ensure people can stay connected and are treated fairly.

 

 

24th March 2020

OFCOM UPDATE – 24th March 2020

Approach to the coronavirus (Covid-19)

This is an unprecedented time for our country, and keeping communications going across the UK has never been more important. Over the next few months Ofcom’s sectors will play a vital role in supporting families, businesses and individuals as we all adapt the way we live, work and communicate in the wake of the coronavirus.

See more about what this means for our areas of work.

 

18th March 2020

Measuring compliance with the Shared Rural Network mobile coverage commitments

Ofcom has today published details of how it will assess mobile companies’ compliance with the coverage commitments in the Shared Rural Network agreement between Government and the mobile network operators.

On 9 March, the Government announced it had reached agreement with the four mobile network operators – BT/EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – to develop the Shared Rural Network. This will involve each of the four operators delivering good 4G coverage to 88% of the landmass by 2024, and 90% of the UK’s landmass by 2026.

Ofcom has also varied the spectrum licences held by the four mobile network operators in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands to give effect to the coverage commitments.

13th March 2020

Ofcom finalises rules for mobile airwaves auction

Ofcom has today confirmed how we will release important airwaves to help improve mobile broadband and support the rollout of 5G.

To help improve mobile services and give more people access to 5G networks, we will release more mobile airwaves through an auction. Following consultation, we have today confirmed the rules for how the auction will work.

The auction will involve companies bidding for spectrum in two different frequency bands.

  • The 700 MHz band. We are releasing 80 MHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band. These airwaves are ideal for providing good-quality mobile coverage, both indoors and across very wide areas – including the countryside. Today we have also published a progress update on work to clear the band of its current uses for digital terrestrial TV and wireless microphones.
  • The 3.6-3.8 GHz band. We are releasing 120 MHz of spectrum in 3.6-3.8 GHz band. These important airwaves are part of the primary band for 5G and capable of carrying lots of data-hungry connections in concentrated areas.
  • Similar to our 2018 spectrum auction, this year’s auction will involve two stages:
  • Principal stage. Companies first bid for airwaves in separate ‘lots’ to determine how much spectrum each company wins.
  • Assignment stage. There is then a round of bidding to determine the specific frequencies that winning bidders will be allocated.Following the Government’s confirmation of agreement with the four mobile network operators to set up the Shared Rural Network to improve mobile coverage, we will not include coverage obligations in our auction.
  • To give mobile operators the opportunity to create more continuous ‘blocks’ of 5G-ready spectrum, the assignment stage allows winners of 3.6-3.8 GHz spectrum to negotiate their placements within the band among themselves.  And to help maintain strong competition in the UK mobile market, we will impose a 37% cap on the overall spectrum that any one mobile company can hold following the auction.

A news release is available.

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: March 2020

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

OFCOM Update 21.02.2020

Ofcom publishes latest spectrum measurement results

Ofcom has published the latest results from our spectrum measurement programme.

We have measured the electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions from equipment used to transmit mobile signals and other wireless services for a number of years. With all four UK mobile networks launching 5G services in the last year, we have extended our measurement programme to cover the frequencies being used for 5G.

We measured EMF emissions at 16 5G sites in 10 cities across the UK, focusing on areas where mobile use is likely to be highest. At every site, emissions were a small fraction of the levels included in international guidelines– set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). And the maximum measured at any site was approximately 1.5% of those levels.

We will continue our measurement programme, including at further 5G sites, and publish data regularly.

Proposed licence conditions

Manufacturers, installers and operators of wireless equipment should already be aware of the ICNIRP guidelines, and factor them in to how they plan their services.

To ensure this always remains the case, we are proposing new licence conditions for spectrum licensees using equipment that can transmit at power levels above 10 Watts.

These proposals would mean licensees must operate within the ICNIRP guidelines as a condition of their Ofcom licence – including keeping data and records of any testing to demonstrate their compliance.

We welcome responses to this consultation by 15 May 2020.

OFCOM Update 19.02.2020

Ofcom Competition and Consumer Enforcement Bulletin

The latest change to Ofcom’s Competition and Consumer Enforcement Bulletin was made today and relates to the following case:

Investigation into Post Office Limited’s charges for telephone calls using relay services

OFCOM Update 13.02.2020

Ofcom appoints Simon Saunders as Director of Emerging Technology

Ofcom has announced that Professor Simon Saunders will join Ofcom next month as Director of Emerging Technology.

Simon joins from Google, where he was Head of Connectivity Partnerships for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He has been with the technology company since 2015, working with mobile operators globally on improving wireless connectivity through advanced technology.

Simon is a specialist in communication technology, with a technical and commercial background, having worked in industry, including at Motorola and Philips, in academia at the University of Surrey and Trinity College Dublin, and as an advisor on communication systems for business users, operators and technology vendors.

He is also a Visiting Professor at King’s College London and was a member of the Ofcom Spectrum Advisory Board from 2007 to 2014. He has founded and chaired several technology forums and associations.

Simon is also a trustee of the charity Music for All, where he organised the world’s first ever music lesson delivered using 5G.

A news release is available.

 

OFCOM Update 12.02.2020

Ofcom Board appoints Dame Melanie Dawes as Chief Executive

The Ofcom Board has today announced the appointment of Dame Melanie Dawes as Chief Executive.

Dame Melanie has been Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government since 2015. She will take up her new position in early March.

Dame Melanie has held senior roles across the Civil Service, working in partnership across the public and private sectors. She started her career as an economist and spent 15 years at the Treasury, including as Europe Director. She was Director General of the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat at the Cabinet Office between 2011 and 2015, and prior to that she served on the Board of HMRC as Head of Business Tax.

In addition to her current Permanent Secretary role, Dame Melanie chairs the Civil Service People Board, leading workforce strategies across all government departments. She is also Civil Service champion for diversity and inclusion.

She has held non-executive roles including with the consumer body Which? and is a trustee of the Patchwork Foundation, which promotes the participation of under-represented young people in democracy.

Lord Burns, Ofcom’s Chairman, said: “I am delighted that the Secretary of State has approved Ofcom’s appointment of Dame Melanie Dawes as the next Chief Executive of Ofcom. The Government’s statement that it is minded to appoint Ofcom as the regulator for online harms is a vote of confidence in Ofcom’s expertise. I know Melanie will do a fantastic job of leading the organisation and maintaining its strengths.

“I look forward to working with her over the months ahead as we prepare for this forthcoming legislation as well as the ongoing tasks of achieving better broadband and mobile coverage and supporting UK broadcasting.”

Dame Melanie said: “Ofcom plays a crucial role in ensuring that people and businesses across the UK get the best from their communications services. It’s a great privilege to be appointed as Chief Executive at a time of significant change in the sectors Ofcom regulates.”

The programme to establish online harms as part of Ofcom’s remit is likely to take time to put in place. Given the extension of Ofcom’s role, the Secretary of State has also today said that the Government will consider carefully the full impacts of this potential change, both for Ofcom and to inform broader work on the regulatory landscape.

Ofcom Chairman

In view of the fact that the new role would mean change for Ofcom over the next few years, the Secretary of State has indicated that the Government would like a Chair to be in place who is able to oversee the successful implementation of any changes in full.

Lord Burns has therefore agreed to step down to enable a new Chair to be in place by the end of this year. He has agreed to stay on until the new Chair is in place to ensure a smooth transition.

DCMS Secretary of State Nicky Morgan said: “I congratulate Dame Melanie Dawes on her appointment as chief executive of Ofcom. Melanie’s experience leading organisations through change will be vital as the Government today announces it is minded to appoint the organisation as regulator for new online harms laws.

“I would also like to thank Lord Burns for his work as Chair of the organisation. He has provided expert stewardship and will leave the media and telecoms regulator in a strong position.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. The Chief Executive of Ofcom is a public appointment made by the Ofcom Board, involving an independent panel member. It is subject to approval by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Baroness (Nicky) Morgan.
  2. Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom’s Competition Group Director and Board member, is currently serving as interim Chief Executive until Melanie arrives.

 

OFCOM Update 06.02.2020

BT’s regulatory financial reporting requirements

Ofcom has today published a consultation on BT’s regulatory financial reporting requirements for the wholesale fixed telecoms markets.

This follows the publication last month of our proposals on the regulation of these markets for the period from April 2021 to March 2026.

Today’s consultation closes on 1 April 2020, and we will publish our decisions in early 2021 before the current rules expire in April 2021.

 

OFCOM Update 05.02.2020

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: February 2020

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

ADR regulations
Confirming our assessment of whether ADR providers continue to meet the requirements of the ADR regulations.

 

OFCOM Update 04.02.2020

Parents’ rising concern over children online

More parents than ever feel children’s online use now carries more risks than benefits, according to Ofcom’s latest annual study of children’s media and online lives.

Parents and carers are becoming more likely to trust their children with greater digital independence at a younger age. But far fewer believe the benefits of their child being online outweigh the risks than five years ago (55%, down from 65% in 2015). And around two million parents now feel the internet does their children more harm than good.

Looking at what today’s children are doing online, Ofcom has uncovered three notable online trends over the last year.

  • The ‘Greta effect’. Almost a fifth (18%, up from 12% in a year) of 12-15s use social media to express support for causes and organisations – potentially environmental, political or charitable – by sharing or commenting on posts. One in 10 signed petitions on social media.
  • Rise of the ‘vlogger next door’. While high-profile YouTube stars remain popular, children are now increasingly drawn to influencers like them. Known as ‘micro’ or ‘nano’ influencers, they often have fewer followers. They might be local to a child’s area, or share a niche interest.
  • Girl gamers on the increase. Almost half of girls aged 5-15 now play games online – a big rise from 39% in 2018. The proportion of boy gamers is unchanged at 71%, but boys spend twice as long playing online each week (14 hours 36 minutes vs. 7 hours 30 minutes).

A news release summarising today’s findings is available

 

OFCOM Update 24.01.2020

Latest telecoms and pay-TV complaints revealed

Ofcom has today published the latest league tables on the complaints we receive about the UK’s major home phone, broadband, mobile and pay-TV firms.

The quarterly report reveals the number of complaints made to Ofcom between July and September last year about firms in the home broadband, landline telephone, pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV markets. All providers with a stable market share over 1.5% are included.

The latest complaint figures reveal that:

Broadband: Vodafone was the most complained-about broadband provider for the second quarter in a row. As in last quarter, faults, service and installation problems were the main driver of complaints about Vodafone’s broadband services.

Landline and Mobile: Vodafone and TalkTalk were the most complained-about landline providers, closely followed by Plusnet. Faults, service and provisioning issues were the main driver of these complaints about Vodafone. While complaints handling was the biggest issue raised with us regarding TalkTalk. Vodafone and Virgin Mobile were the most complained-about mobile providers – the main reason being complaints handling.

Pay-TV: Virgin Media was the most complained-about pay-TV provider, with handling of complaints being the primary reason.

Complaints information helps people to think about quality of service when they are shopping around for a new provider and encourages firms to improve their performance.

A news release is available.

 

Ofcom publishes fairness framework

Ofcom has today published a framework outlining the kinds of factors we will consider when judging whether customers are being treated fairly by telecoms and pay-TV firms.

This is the latest step in Ofcom’s Fairness for Customers programme, which last year saw all of the UK’s biggest providers make a landmark commitment to put fairness first.

Following consultation last year, this framework aims to support companies in their commitment to improve customer service and put fairness at the heart of their business. It explains how we are likely to assess fairness concerns when they arise, and the kinds of problems that might prompt us to step in and take action to protect customers.

We will continue to monitor customers’ experiences, and make sure companies stick to what they promised in their fairness commitments.

 

OFCOM Update 14.01.2020

Ofcom fines Post Office £175,000 for overcharging for relay telephone calls

Ofcom has fined Post Office £175,000 after an investigation found the company overcharged people with hearing or speech impairments who made telephone calls using a relay service.

Relay services help people with hearing and speech difficulties communicate with anyone over the phone by offering text-to-speech and speech-to-text translation. Our rules require phone providers to offer a ‘special tariff scheme’ for these types of calls when they are made by disabled people. The scheme is designed to compensate those callers for the additional time it takes for them to make phone calls using a relay service.

We found that Post Office failed to apply the special tariff to relay calls for at least five years, resulting in up to 126 people each year being overcharged.  It also took over two years between Post Office becoming aware of the problem and it being fixed.

We consider this to be a serious breach of our rules to protect potentially vulnerable customers. Taking this, and the lengthy period of Post Office’s non-compliance into account, Ofcom has imposed a penalty of £175,000 on the company. We are also requiring Post Office to refund affected customers.

The penalty includes a 30% discount in recognition that Post Office has admitted its failings and agreed to settle the case. The money raised from this fine, which must be paid to Ofcom within 20 working days, will be passed on to HM Treasury. More information on our ruling is available.

 

OFCOM Update 09.01.2020

Ofcom’s Communications Monthly Update: January 2020

This is a regular round-up of routine Ofcom publications over the last month.

This month’s update covers:

  • Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
  • Television broadcast licensing update
  • Radio licensing monthly update
  • Final directions applying Code powers to VX Fiber Ltd, Exascale Ltd and Telcom Infrastructure Ltd
  • Business impact targetTelevision broadcast licensing update
    Information about Ofcom’s broadcast TV licensing activity, including details of new licences issued and changes to existing licences.Final directions applying Code powers to VX Fiber Ltd, Exascale Ltd and Telcom Infrastructure Ltd
    Ofcom has confirmed that, pursuant to the Electronic Communications Code and following consultation, Code powers have now been granted to VX Fiber Ltd, Exascale Ltd and Telcom Infrastructure Ltd.
  • Radio licensing monthly update
    Information about Ofcom’s broadcast radio licensing activity with regards to both the commercial and community radio sectors. This month’s update includes information on the short-term restricted service licence applications that we have received for 2020’s period of high demand.
  • Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator update
    The Independent Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) has published its update for December 2019. At the end of December 2019, the number of unbundled lines stands at 9.95 million. There are 4.27 million WLR lines, and the number of telephone numbers using CPS is 1.94 million.

Business impact target
Under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, we have a statutory obligation to produce an assessment of the economic impact on business of every qualifying regulatory provision we make. We have published our latest list of qualifying and non-qualifying regulatory provisions for the period 9 June 2017 to 14 November 2019.

OFCOM Update 09.01.2020

Helping customers get fair treatment and fair prices

Phone and broadband customers can easily compare which providers offer the best service and value for money, thanks to new performance scorecards published today.

As part of a new initiative from the UK Regulators Network (UKRN), regulators in telecoms, water, energy and banking have partnered to compare how customers rate the biggest companies who provide services people rely on every day.

Overall, most telecoms customers are happy with their service, with satisfaction in the mobile, broadband and landline markets at 93%, 86% and 83% respectively.

New pricing research

The scorecards are published alongside Ofcom’s annual Pricing Trends report – providing analysis of what UK customers paid for broadband, phone and pay-TV services in 2019.

The report shows that UK mobile customers generally pay less than those in the US and major European countries. It also highlights broadband and mobile customers who have passed their initial contract, could make significant savings by switching to a new deal.

Putting fairness first

We have also published an update on action from our Fairness for Customers programme over the last year – including a range of initiatives to help ensure customers are treated fairly and can easily find the best deals.

A news release is available.

OFCOM Update 08.01.2020

Supercharging investment in fibre broadband

Homes and businesses up and down the country are set to benefit from much faster and more reliable fibre broadband, under major proposals set out today by Ofcom.

As demand for internet data accelerates, the UK’s infrastructure needs to be upgraded. So today we are proposing new, flexible regulation that will help fuel a full-fibre future for the whole of the UK. Today’s proposals are part of our review of wholesale telecoms used for residential and business services in the UK. This maps out how Ofcom will regulate BT for the period from April 2021 to March 2026.

Our focus on promoting broadband network competition has helped full fibre coverage increase at its fastest ever rate. We have already made it cheaper, quicker and easier for BT’s rivals to lay fibre cables by giving them better and cheaper access to Openreach’s underground pipes and telegraph poles.

We are now proposing to supercharge the strategy with a four-point plan to support competitive investment in fibre networks:

  1. Improving the business case for fibre investment
  2. Protecting customers and driving competition
  3. Taking rural areas into the fast lane
  4. Closing the copper network

We have also today set out how we intend to regulate Openreach’s ‘leased lines’ – high-speed connections used by large organisations, which also form the data highways of the UK’s mobile and broadband networks.

Today’s consultation closes on 1 April 2020, and we will publish our decisions in early 2021 before the current rules expire in April 2021.

A news release is available, with more details on today’s announcement

OFCOM Update 07.01.2020

Ofcom’s Proposed Plan of Work and Stakeholder Events

Ofcom has today published its proposed 2020/21 Plan of Work for consultation, outlining its priorities for the next financial year.

Ofcom wants to make sure that people and businesses in the UK get the best from their communications services. Our proposed plan highlights all our major work areas for the financial year 2020/21, based on the following strategic priorities:

  • Better broadband and mobile – wherever you are: we will support ongoing investment in faster broadband and better mobile coverage across the country.
  • Fairness for customers: we will ensure broadband, phone and TV customers, particularly vulnerable people, are treated fairly.
  • Supporting UK broadcasting: we will support the UK’s vibrant broadcasting sectors, including public service broadcasting, to deliver continued benefits to all UK audiences.
  • Ensuring online communications work for people and businesses: we will work with Government on new and emerging policies protecting people from harmful content online, and more generally ensure communications services online work for consumers.
  • Enabling strong, secure networks: continuing to collaborate with industry to ensure the UK’s networks are secure, resilient and protected against cyber-attacks and outages.
  • We encourage anyone with an interest in Ofcom’s work to respond to the consultation by 25 February 2020. The full plan is set for release in March 2020.

Stakeholder events

We are also holding a series of public events to gain direct feedback on our proposed plan. These free events are open to all and are taking place in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.

Further details on these events are available