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Robert Sanchez 2021-07-26
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Ofcom says complexity of giant satellite networks raises interference concerns.
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6
Ronald Griffis 2018-01-15
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When Ofcom first banned GSM gateways in 2003 the man who is now the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, was a partner at Ofcom, later rising to board level.

Last year the gateways were briefly re-legalised by Ofcom before the Home Office swooped in to ban them again, citing the excuse of "national security".

Since the advent of VoIP and messenger apps, driving voice call costs right the way down, the business case for their use has disappeared.

At the time of the second ban last year, Ofcom said it did not have the powers to prohibit GSM gateways on security grounds.

A redacted letter seemingly sent to Sir Philip about the GSM gateway ban, released by Ofcom (PDF) under Freedom of Information laws, says that the department "sought views on whether it would be appropriate" to lift the ban.

An old friend of The Register, Matthew Dine of the Home Office Investigatory Powers Unit (who regular readers will recall was the civil servant who anonymously wrote to an Ofcom consultation urging the regulator to keep the ban*) contacted Ofcom asking whether a Home Office-imposed ban would cause even more harm to industry, other than destroying GSM gateway operators.

collect
0
Cornell Lopez 2019-08-14
img

Ofcom has hit BT with a £3,727,330 bill for reporting inaccurate financials to the regulator, leading to the telco paying lower administration fees for five years.

As BT reported inaccurate results between 2011 and 2015, it paid lower administration fees throughout this period.

“BT’s cooperation with Ofcom in relation to this investigation has been extensive and productive,” Ofcom said in the report.

“Upon discovery of its error, BT informed Ofcom and committed to remedying the consequences of its error.

BT has also undertaken extensive work to ensure that its final resubmitted turnover is complete and accurate; had Ofcom had to carry out this work itself, it is likely to have required significant resource and time to complete.”

Although BT does not have the most glimmering record when it comes to accounting in recent years, the telco did own up to the error rather than Ofcom being informed by a whistle-blower.

collect
0
Sean Biro 2018-06-15
img

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has raised its concerns that BT still has too much influence over decisions made by the Openreach national broadband network.

Following years of complaints from rivals that previous Openreach owner BT was prioritising their business in strategic decisions, Ofcom decided to step in last year.

Ofcom and BT reached the decision to keep Openreach under BT’s parent company, but have it run as an independent company in a bid to make its operations fairer to competitors.

In a progress report Ofcom published on Thursday, the regulator said progress had been made towards becoming more independent.

A new board had been established and BT branding removed from thousands of Openreach vans.

However, Ofcom noted BT remained ‘significantly involved’ in Openreach’s strategy.

collect
0
David Clary 2019-07-30
img

Mobile operator Giffgaff has been fined £1.4 million for overcharging millions of customers, in an error that Ofcom said was “unacceptable”.

Giffgaff, owned by O2 parent Telefonica, overcharged customers to a total of nearly £2.9m, according to regulator Ofcom.

The operator notified Ofcom when it detected the mistake and has refunded the majority of customers, but Ofcom said the firm had blundered in a “basic duty”.

“Getting bills right is a basic duty for every phone company,” said Ofcom director of investigations and enforcement Gaucho Rasmussen.

“But Giffgaff made unacceptable mistakes, leaving millions of customers out of pocket.”

Giffgaff has refunded customers about £2.1m, and in cases in which it was unable to contact customers it donated the funds to charity.

collect
0
Letha Byrd 2021-02-25
img

Eight 5G solution providers have joined an OpenRAN initiative led by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom and innovation centre Digital Catapult called SONIC. The vendor-neutral and interoperable equipment OpenRAN delivers is seen as being the solution to disrupting the perceived monopoly held by the large telecoms vendors—helping to drive innovation, improve security, offer flexibility, and reduce... Read more »

The post Eight 5G solution providers join Ofcom and Digital Catapult-led OpenRAN initiative appeared first on Telecoms Tech News.

collect
0
Ralph Knotts 2021-01-25
img

British telecoms regulator Ofcom has pushed back its upcoming 5G spectrum auction due to COVID-19. The latest spectrum auction was due to be held this month. However, with just a week left until the end of January, Ofcom issued the following statement this morning saying that it would be pushed back: “Throughout our planning for... Read more »

The post Ofcom pushes back 5G spectrum auction due to COVID-19 appeared first on Telecoms Tech News.

collect
0
Timothy Guardado 2016-12-16
img

More than a million UK homes are still unable to get a decent broadband signal, research from Ofcom suggests.

The regulator said 1.4m homes were unable to receive broadband speeds over 10 megabits per second Mbit/s , the speed Ofcom says is required in a typical home to meet a household s digital needs.

However, Ofcom s Connected Nations 2016 report did find that a million more homes than last year could now access such speeds.

The government has pledged to make broadband a universal service that gives everyone a right to access 10 Mbit/s speeds, a scheme Ofcom is advising on.

The report also announced discussions with mobile operators, urging them to do more to improve 4G mobile data coverage in the UK.

Steve Unger, Ofcom group director, said: Mobile and broadband coverage continued to grow this year, but too many people and businesses are still struggling for a good service.

collect
0
Eric Whitefield 2019-06-06
img

After four years of running the UK telecoms regulator Sharon White has decided she fancies a go at retail.

Ofcom has announced White will leave her current post as CEO of the regulator towards the end of this year in order to become Chairman of The John Lewis Partnership – a UK retail chain.

They don’t have a replacement lined up but have half a year to dig someone up.

“Sharon has been an outstanding Chief Executive for Ofcom and will be missed by the whole organisation,” said Ofcom Chairman Lord Burns.

“Under Sharon’s leadership, Ofcom has helped to deliver ultrafast broadband, widespread 4G mobile and now 5G, and became the first independent regulator of the BBC.

She leaves Ofcom as a regulator with a relentless focus on the consumer interest; making sure people and businesses can get the best out of their communications services.”

collect
0
Trisha Lewis 2019-05-28
img

UK.gov hasn't appealed High Court ruling yet – but regulator upholds ban anyway

UK comms regulator Ofcom has told people wanting to set up a GSM gateway that it will not be authorising them to do so, pending a planned government appeal against a recent High Court judgment.

Sources have told The Register that Ofcom is pushing back hard against any attempts to apply for a GSM gateway licence.

They say this calls into question the regulator's public stance of being independent from government.

Ofcom has published a statement on its website about the case stating that "for the time being, Ofcom will not be taking action to issue any licence exemption regulations under s.8 WTA06."

The move comes after a High Court judgment that ordered Ofcom to do that exact thing: that is, issue licences for people to operate GSM gateways.

collect
0
Blaine Pilgrim 2016-11-29
img

Talks between BT and Ofcom fail to result in agreement over Openreach future

Ofcom is to notify the European Commission EC of the intention to force BT to make Openreach a fully independent subsidiary after talks to find a voluntary compromise failed to alleviate the regulator s competition concerns.

In July, Ofcom declared Openreach should be a separate company from BT with its own board, brand and CEO, appointed independently of its parent, capable of making investment decisions for the benefit of the 500 hundred communication providers CPs that use the network – not just BT s retail unit.

The plans fell short of rivals calls for Openreach to be made a fully separate legal entity but Ofcom has made clear that this course of action has not been taken off the table.

BT has submitted voluntary proposals, and attempted to pre-empt Ofcom s announcement with the appointment of Mike McTighe as the first ever independent chairman of Openreach.

McTighe served on the Ofcom board for eight years leadng up to 2015 and has held positions at Cable and Wireless, Philips, Motorola, and GE.

collect
0
Jose Wenger 2017-03-10
img

BT has bowed to demands by the telecoms regulator Ofcom to legally separate Openreach, which runs the UK's broadband infrastructure.

Ofcom said that Openreach will become a distinct company with its own staff, management and strategy "to serve all of its customers equally".

It must consult with customers such as Sky and TalkTalk on major investments.

Ofcom boss Sharon White told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "we can now expect better service from Openreach".

The regulator had threatened to force BT to legally separate Openreach.

However, Ofcom said on Friday that the company had agreed to all of the changes needed to address its competition concerns.

collect
0
Jonathan Spitzer 2017-04-17
img

Ofcom has been accused of absconding its responsibilities to improve ethnic diversity at the BBC by former culture minister, David Lammy.

The regulator's draft framework failed to include diversity targets or processes to monitor off-screen employment at the BBC.

Instead Ofcom said it expects the publically funded broadcaster to "increase diversity off-screen and off-air and to report on its progress".

Labour MP David Lammy played a key role in the push to include diversity in the new BBC charter and has criticised Ofcom for the lack of regulation regarding ethnic diversity in the draft published at the end of March.

In a letter to digital minister Matt Hancock, Lammy said he was “deeply disappointed that Ofcom has not proposed that black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) employment should be a performance measure and has not proposed any regulatory conditions for off-screen representation at any level”.

Speaking to the Guardian, Lammy said: “Ofcom cannot and must not abdicate responsibility.

collect
0
Ramon Delo 2016-07-26
img

How the industry reacted to the latest Ofcom move on the fate of the BT owned UK broadband infrastructure supplier

Ofcom has laid out plans for Openreach to become a separate company within BT in a move aimed to assuage concerns about its performance without incurring the full costs of a sell-off.

- see below for full news article

ITSPA, the voice of the next generation communications industry in the UK, today welcomed Ofcom s proposals for an increasingly independent Openreach, but called for further focus on measures to ensure Openreach s performance improves to a level that the communications industry and the UK needs.

Reacting to the news, Eli Katz, Chair of ITSPA stated Members of ITSPA are pleased that Ofcom has proposed an increasingly independent Openreach, but has avoided full structural separation of Openreach from BT.

Continuing, Katz said It is now essential that Ofcom continues to work on tough performance rules for Openreach, setting out minimum requirements on fault repairs and line installation.

collect
0
Dorothy Chiaramonte 2016-10-11
img

Funnily enough, BT really doesn't agree

Mobile telcos Three and TalkTalk told MPs today they want more power to go to Ofcom in the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill, in order to rebalance the market away from the dominance of BT/EE.

And I would encourage the committee to look very favourably to them."

One such measure would be proposals to make the basis on which operators can legally challenge Ofcom decisions more difficult.

David Dyson, head of Three, agreed: Ofcom needs more powers to make decisions based on consumer interests.

Ofcom tried to legislate on this five years ago and it got litigated against by Vodafone on a technicality and since then it s been kicked into the long grass.

collect
0
Edward Hickey 2019-05-20
img

Court rules regulator should cough for 'wrongful' increase

Vodafone, O2, Three and EE have won a case against Ofcom claiming that the UK comms regulator's increase in spectrum fees was unfair.

The ruling could result in a £220m rebate for UK mobile providers.

The verdict relates to annual licence fees for mobile spectrum use coughed to Ofcom by the firms between 2015 and 2017.

Four years ago, the networks sued the regulator in the High Court over a 2015 fee hike, claiming it was too high.

After Ofcom won the initial case, a Court of Appeal reversed the first verdict, saying Ofcom and the court had misunderstood a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport directive on pricing.

collect
0
Robert Sanchez 2021-07-26
img
Ofcom says complexity of giant satellite networks raises interference concerns.
Cornell Lopez 2019-08-14
img

Ofcom has hit BT with a £3,727,330 bill for reporting inaccurate financials to the regulator, leading to the telco paying lower administration fees for five years.

As BT reported inaccurate results between 2011 and 2015, it paid lower administration fees throughout this period.

“BT’s cooperation with Ofcom in relation to this investigation has been extensive and productive,” Ofcom said in the report.

“Upon discovery of its error, BT informed Ofcom and committed to remedying the consequences of its error.

BT has also undertaken extensive work to ensure that its final resubmitted turnover is complete and accurate; had Ofcom had to carry out this work itself, it is likely to have required significant resource and time to complete.”

Although BT does not have the most glimmering record when it comes to accounting in recent years, the telco did own up to the error rather than Ofcom being informed by a whistle-blower.

David Clary 2019-07-30
img

Mobile operator Giffgaff has been fined £1.4 million for overcharging millions of customers, in an error that Ofcom said was “unacceptable”.

Giffgaff, owned by O2 parent Telefonica, overcharged customers to a total of nearly £2.9m, according to regulator Ofcom.

The operator notified Ofcom when it detected the mistake and has refunded the majority of customers, but Ofcom said the firm had blundered in a “basic duty”.

“Getting bills right is a basic duty for every phone company,” said Ofcom director of investigations and enforcement Gaucho Rasmussen.

“But Giffgaff made unacceptable mistakes, leaving millions of customers out of pocket.”

Giffgaff has refunded customers about £2.1m, and in cases in which it was unable to contact customers it donated the funds to charity.

Ralph Knotts 2021-01-25
img

British telecoms regulator Ofcom has pushed back its upcoming 5G spectrum auction due to COVID-19. The latest spectrum auction was due to be held this month. However, with just a week left until the end of January, Ofcom issued the following statement this morning saying that it would be pushed back: “Throughout our planning for... Read more »

The post Ofcom pushes back 5G spectrum auction due to COVID-19 appeared first on Telecoms Tech News.

Eric Whitefield 2019-06-06
img

After four years of running the UK telecoms regulator Sharon White has decided she fancies a go at retail.

Ofcom has announced White will leave her current post as CEO of the regulator towards the end of this year in order to become Chairman of The John Lewis Partnership – a UK retail chain.

They don’t have a replacement lined up but have half a year to dig someone up.

“Sharon has been an outstanding Chief Executive for Ofcom and will be missed by the whole organisation,” said Ofcom Chairman Lord Burns.

“Under Sharon’s leadership, Ofcom has helped to deliver ultrafast broadband, widespread 4G mobile and now 5G, and became the first independent regulator of the BBC.

She leaves Ofcom as a regulator with a relentless focus on the consumer interest; making sure people and businesses can get the best out of their communications services.”

Blaine Pilgrim 2016-11-29
img

Talks between BT and Ofcom fail to result in agreement over Openreach future

Ofcom is to notify the European Commission EC of the intention to force BT to make Openreach a fully independent subsidiary after talks to find a voluntary compromise failed to alleviate the regulator s competition concerns.

In July, Ofcom declared Openreach should be a separate company from BT with its own board, brand and CEO, appointed independently of its parent, capable of making investment decisions for the benefit of the 500 hundred communication providers CPs that use the network – not just BT s retail unit.

The plans fell short of rivals calls for Openreach to be made a fully separate legal entity but Ofcom has made clear that this course of action has not been taken off the table.

BT has submitted voluntary proposals, and attempted to pre-empt Ofcom s announcement with the appointment of Mike McTighe as the first ever independent chairman of Openreach.

McTighe served on the Ofcom board for eight years leadng up to 2015 and has held positions at Cable and Wireless, Philips, Motorola, and GE.

Jonathan Spitzer 2017-04-17
img

Ofcom has been accused of absconding its responsibilities to improve ethnic diversity at the BBC by former culture minister, David Lammy.

The regulator's draft framework failed to include diversity targets or processes to monitor off-screen employment at the BBC.

Instead Ofcom said it expects the publically funded broadcaster to "increase diversity off-screen and off-air and to report on its progress".

Labour MP David Lammy played a key role in the push to include diversity in the new BBC charter and has criticised Ofcom for the lack of regulation regarding ethnic diversity in the draft published at the end of March.

In a letter to digital minister Matt Hancock, Lammy said he was “deeply disappointed that Ofcom has not proposed that black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) employment should be a performance measure and has not proposed any regulatory conditions for off-screen representation at any level”.

Speaking to the Guardian, Lammy said: “Ofcom cannot and must not abdicate responsibility.

Dorothy Chiaramonte 2016-10-11
img

Funnily enough, BT really doesn't agree

Mobile telcos Three and TalkTalk told MPs today they want more power to go to Ofcom in the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill, in order to rebalance the market away from the dominance of BT/EE.

And I would encourage the committee to look very favourably to them."

One such measure would be proposals to make the basis on which operators can legally challenge Ofcom decisions more difficult.

David Dyson, head of Three, agreed: Ofcom needs more powers to make decisions based on consumer interests.

Ofcom tried to legislate on this five years ago and it got litigated against by Vodafone on a technicality and since then it s been kicked into the long grass.

Ronald Griffis 2018-01-15
img

When Ofcom first banned GSM gateways in 2003 the man who is now the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, was a partner at Ofcom, later rising to board level.

Last year the gateways were briefly re-legalised by Ofcom before the Home Office swooped in to ban them again, citing the excuse of "national security".

Since the advent of VoIP and messenger apps, driving voice call costs right the way down, the business case for their use has disappeared.

At the time of the second ban last year, Ofcom said it did not have the powers to prohibit GSM gateways on security grounds.

A redacted letter seemingly sent to Sir Philip about the GSM gateway ban, released by Ofcom (PDF) under Freedom of Information laws, says that the department "sought views on whether it would be appropriate" to lift the ban.

An old friend of The Register, Matthew Dine of the Home Office Investigatory Powers Unit (who regular readers will recall was the civil servant who anonymously wrote to an Ofcom consultation urging the regulator to keep the ban*) contacted Ofcom asking whether a Home Office-imposed ban would cause even more harm to industry, other than destroying GSM gateway operators.

Sean Biro 2018-06-15
img

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has raised its concerns that BT still has too much influence over decisions made by the Openreach national broadband network.

Following years of complaints from rivals that previous Openreach owner BT was prioritising their business in strategic decisions, Ofcom decided to step in last year.

Ofcom and BT reached the decision to keep Openreach under BT’s parent company, but have it run as an independent company in a bid to make its operations fairer to competitors.

In a progress report Ofcom published on Thursday, the regulator said progress had been made towards becoming more independent.

A new board had been established and BT branding removed from thousands of Openreach vans.

However, Ofcom noted BT remained ‘significantly involved’ in Openreach’s strategy.

Letha Byrd 2021-02-25
img

Eight 5G solution providers have joined an OpenRAN initiative led by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom and innovation centre Digital Catapult called SONIC. The vendor-neutral and interoperable equipment OpenRAN delivers is seen as being the solution to disrupting the perceived monopoly held by the large telecoms vendors—helping to drive innovation, improve security, offer flexibility, and reduce... Read more »

The post Eight 5G solution providers join Ofcom and Digital Catapult-led OpenRAN initiative appeared first on Telecoms Tech News.

Timothy Guardado 2016-12-16
img

More than a million UK homes are still unable to get a decent broadband signal, research from Ofcom suggests.

The regulator said 1.4m homes were unable to receive broadband speeds over 10 megabits per second Mbit/s , the speed Ofcom says is required in a typical home to meet a household s digital needs.

However, Ofcom s Connected Nations 2016 report did find that a million more homes than last year could now access such speeds.

The government has pledged to make broadband a universal service that gives everyone a right to access 10 Mbit/s speeds, a scheme Ofcom is advising on.

The report also announced discussions with mobile operators, urging them to do more to improve 4G mobile data coverage in the UK.

Steve Unger, Ofcom group director, said: Mobile and broadband coverage continued to grow this year, but too many people and businesses are still struggling for a good service.

Trisha Lewis 2019-05-28
img

UK.gov hasn't appealed High Court ruling yet – but regulator upholds ban anyway

UK comms regulator Ofcom has told people wanting to set up a GSM gateway that it will not be authorising them to do so, pending a planned government appeal against a recent High Court judgment.

Sources have told The Register that Ofcom is pushing back hard against any attempts to apply for a GSM gateway licence.

They say this calls into question the regulator's public stance of being independent from government.

Ofcom has published a statement on its website about the case stating that "for the time being, Ofcom will not be taking action to issue any licence exemption regulations under s.8 WTA06."

The move comes after a High Court judgment that ordered Ofcom to do that exact thing: that is, issue licences for people to operate GSM gateways.

Jose Wenger 2017-03-10
img

BT has bowed to demands by the telecoms regulator Ofcom to legally separate Openreach, which runs the UK's broadband infrastructure.

Ofcom said that Openreach will become a distinct company with its own staff, management and strategy "to serve all of its customers equally".

It must consult with customers such as Sky and TalkTalk on major investments.

Ofcom boss Sharon White told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "we can now expect better service from Openreach".

The regulator had threatened to force BT to legally separate Openreach.

However, Ofcom said on Friday that the company had agreed to all of the changes needed to address its competition concerns.

Ramon Delo 2016-07-26
img

How the industry reacted to the latest Ofcom move on the fate of the BT owned UK broadband infrastructure supplier

Ofcom has laid out plans for Openreach to become a separate company within BT in a move aimed to assuage concerns about its performance without incurring the full costs of a sell-off.

- see below for full news article

ITSPA, the voice of the next generation communications industry in the UK, today welcomed Ofcom s proposals for an increasingly independent Openreach, but called for further focus on measures to ensure Openreach s performance improves to a level that the communications industry and the UK needs.

Reacting to the news, Eli Katz, Chair of ITSPA stated Members of ITSPA are pleased that Ofcom has proposed an increasingly independent Openreach, but has avoided full structural separation of Openreach from BT.

Continuing, Katz said It is now essential that Ofcom continues to work on tough performance rules for Openreach, setting out minimum requirements on fault repairs and line installation.

Edward Hickey 2019-05-20
img

Court rules regulator should cough for 'wrongful' increase

Vodafone, O2, Three and EE have won a case against Ofcom claiming that the UK comms regulator's increase in spectrum fees was unfair.

The ruling could result in a £220m rebate for UK mobile providers.

The verdict relates to annual licence fees for mobile spectrum use coughed to Ofcom by the firms between 2015 and 2017.

Four years ago, the networks sued the regulator in the High Court over a 2015 fee hike, claiming it was too high.

After Ofcom won the initial case, a Court of Appeal reversed the first verdict, saying Ofcom and the court had misunderstood a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport directive on pricing.