Memo to Ofcom

I gave a presentation at the Ofcom senior team awayday this afternoon.  Drawing on our research (‘Rating Regulators’ and my analysis of the Consumer Conditions Survey 2008) I argue that Ofcom compares well on the way it works as a regulator BUT that the markets it regulates are among the worst in the UK for consumer experience.

One thought on “Memo to Ofcom

  1. There are a very active regulator, but their adherence to the dogma of competitive markets, and indeed their market definitions, as evidenced in their current review of call termination fees for fixed and mobile services means the Customer Experience will continue to be poor.

    Their regulation of legacy voice (fixed and mobile) through the termination and interconnection regimes and auction process without any reference to the subsitution of services ober Broadband networks is a deeply significant blind spot for the UK Imformation society.

    It feels like they are regulating railway usage, phones on a phone network, and we users have all purchased cars (computing, laptops -smart phones, stb) to do many things on a single data infrastructure.

    The £95 pm (average household) we are paying for Fixed,Mobile,TV, Broadband and Radio – all digital services, will need redistributing with reductions in fixed/mobile and more to improve our high speed connectivity. This will not happen as the mood of the current round of consultations on termination fees is not to touch the holy grail of market definitions. Yet these definitions have little meaning to a user who increasingly needs connectivity (, wireless) to a common set of services, communications, education, entertainment and critical things like paying taxes and applying for work.

    Ofcom have a set of laws to implement which support the continuity and perpetuity of legacy services. As users we are actively and dynamically substituting these legacy services with an increasing reliance and need for services delivered on high speed connectivity.

    The maintainance and support of legacy services is inhibiting the development of our high speed connectivity as operators define and price our new connectivity with two eyes on maintaining legacy rentals, call set up and call termination fees, while our Broadband connectivity remains ‘best effort’ and constrained by Bandwidth pricing which uses the cost of voice calls as its ultimate reference point.

    Ofcom are guardians of the legistlation covering the network equivalent of the railways. We the customer have transferred to the network equivalent of the car. Our need is good data transport not single service networks for fixed and mobile.

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