Market review and European regulation tops Ofcom’s 2016 plans

Market review and European regulation tops Ofcom’s 2016 plans

The review of the digital communications market and an examination of European regulation are the top of Ofcom’s priority list for 2016.

The regulator has revealed the areas it will be focusing on in the next year in its annual plan for 2016. It also called for responses to its list of priorities for the New Year.

The issue of European regulation is one which has come up recently in connection to the takeover of O2 by Three’s owners Hutchison Whampoa. Whilst anticipation for the Digital Communications Review has grown with the regulator promising to use it to examine BT’s wholesale policy in detail.

The watchdog said in a statement: ‘We are entering a period of potential material change for regulation and policy frameworks, which will significantly define our work plan in 2016/17. We are undertaking our Strategic Review of Digital Communications.

‘At the same time, the European Commission is reviewing the wider European regulatory frameworks. Across our sectors there is also the prospect of material market consolidation. In this context, we need to ensure that consumers and businesses continue to benefit from competition and choice in the market and have accurate, comparable and accessible information in order to make informed decisions.’

Legal threat

Yesterday [03/12/2015], Ofcom announced it was delaying its next spectrum auction process because of a legal challenge from Telefonica and Hutchison Whampoa.

The owners of O2 and Three were both unhappy about the prospect of radio wave licenses being sold before the European Commission had finished assessing the merger. 

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