The second of our series of Communications Review policy seminars took place this week.
It addressed a number of key questions, including:
- does the current competition regime provide sufficient clarity for industry, and consumer benefits - and if not, what changes might be needed?
- should a converged content market be reflected by an increased convergence between the telecoms and broadcasting competition regimes?
- will innovation and ongoing growth of the content sector be affected by any changes to the current regime?
Dr Yih-Choung Teh from Ofcom set out recent trends in how consumers access content, and recent market developments, such as the marked increase in take up of mobile devices, and what the implications might be for the regulatory framework.
A panel discussion focused on how best to deliver the content consumers want, while supporting investment in a converged market.
Attendees were given the chance to put questions to the panel on a range of topics including:
- concerns over the slow pace of competition remedies (and appeals processes), especially considering the rapid rate of change and innovation in content supply and consumption;
- the potential for the future broadcasting landscape to comprise a small number of major, vertically-integrated companies, with a high degree of power and the ability to charge for their content;
- questions over where the powers to intervene should sit, given convergence;
- the competition regime itself - and whether there is a case for changing regulation in this area, or for aligning the broadcasting and telecoms regimes more closely.
Closing the seminar, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, set out the broader ambitions of the Communications Review, encouraging all to reflect further on the themes set out in the papers and seminar discussions and to feed in responses by 14 September.