Policy

Making it easier for the communications and telecoms industries to grow, while protecting the interests of citizens

Issue

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.

Actions

We are:

We are also investing money to help the UK get the best broadband network in Europe.

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.

Background

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.

The Communications Act of 2003 made Ofcom the independent regulator for both the telecommunications and broadcasting industries in the UK, responding to the growing convergence of those industries.

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 Office of Communications Act 2002 set up Ofcom, which now operates under the Communications Act 2003.

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.

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