Our telecoms market is one of the most open and competitive in the world. Effective deregulation has set industry free to create new services and set international standards.
We want to continue to encourage innovation and growth in the industry, but we also need to make sure consumers and other citizens are protected effectively. So, we work to make sure we are regulating our communications industry in a proportionate way that balances the needs of everyone involved.
- making changes to the law and working with industry to ensure the consumer remains the main focus of the communications industry, which has changed very quickly over the last decade
- making sure Ofcom has the funding and powers to regulate the communications and broadcasting industries, and making sure they do their job well
- funding up to £150 million to improve mobile coverage in areas where coverage is poor or non-existent
- supporting the introduction of 4G mobile communication to the UK
- ensuring that media and technology are accessible to the widest range of people, including by encouraging the use of subtitles, and by hosting the e-Accessibility forum
- working with industry, consumer groups, regulators and other interested parties to protect children online
You can read more about what we are doing to make sure our media and creative industries are able to grow and contribute to the economy.
The UK’s communication markets were opened with the privatisation of BT in 1984 and the introduction of competition. Further opening up of the market and the introduction of new services from the early 1990s brought many new companies into the market, leading to the UK becoming one of the most competitive communications markets in the world.
Ofcom currently regulates broadcasting, including public service television broadcasters (BBC, Channel 4, S4C, ITV and Five), as well as telecommunications and the post.
Regulation of the telecommunications sector is based on UK implementation of the EU regulatory framework for telecommunications, first adopted in 2002 and updated in 2009.
Bills and legislation
The Digital Economy Act 2010 set up new regulations for digital communications and broadcasting, including Ofcom’s role, Channel 4’s remit and anti-piracy measures.