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Access and Inclusion (including TV Access Services)

The Issue...

Ofcom's work on access and inclusion covers a wide range of issues, with the Access and Inclusion team working with colleagues from across the organisation. These are all important issues for consumers, and range from access to broadband and mobile, emergency mobile roaming and services for disabled consumers. In 2009 Ofcom brought these different issues together under one project in order to more clearly articulate its priorities in this area and to take a more consistent and co-ordinated approach. The Panel was engaged with Ofcom throughout this process, commenting both on the overarching approach and providing feedback on the particular issues within that broad approach. 

Our Objective...

To help shape the priorities for Ofcom's access and inclusion work and to ensure that this work is informed by an understanding of the needs and perspectives of consumers, particularly vulnerable consumers. 

Our Current Position...

  • Ofcom's work on access and inclusion covers a wide range of issues. Bringing these together under a single overarching project and treating them in a consistent and co-ordinated way is important for ensuring that the needs of consumers, particularly vulnerable consumers, are met.
  • It is important that those conducting this work view issues from the perspective of consumers and citizens, and design policy initiatives that take account of the full range of their needs.
  • Digital participation is a crucial element of access and inclusion and Ofcom should be clear about how all of its access and inclusion projects contribute to digital participation.
  • Universal broadband is also key to access and inclusion. The government's universal broadband commitment is welcome, but should be procured in a way that enables the level of service to be increased easily and efficiently should this prove necessary.
  • Ofcom must give the issue of mobile coverage greater priority.
  • The work Ofcom has done to prompt industry to introduce emergency mobile roaming is very welcome.
  • Ofcom should continue to take a broad approach to consumer empowerment, underpinned by an understanding of people's needs and how they make decisions.
  • Ofcom should focus on promoting the availability of easy-to-use and accessible equipment and services, particularly (but not only) for people with disabilities. While Ofcom has limited powers in this area it can still play an important role in persuading stakeholders and providing the evidence base for others to act. Ofcom should also consider making the case to Government about how increased powers in this area would enable it to better meet people's needs.
  • The Panel strongly supports the provision of TV access services and values the contribution that they make to enabling people with disabilities to participate in society.

Relevant Links...

Response to Ofcom's consultation on Access and Inclusion, July 2009 (PDF 157KB, opens in a new window)

Response to Ofcom's Consultation on TV Access Services, Nov 2009 (PDF 102KB, opens in a new window)

Our Impact...

The Panel's engagement helped persuade Ofcom to bring together their work on access and inclusion. The Panel's ongoing input helped ensure that the work remained on track. The Panel also had an impact through its advice on specific policy areas.  

>> Our Actions, Outputs and Stakeholder Engagement

If you have any difficulties accessing content on this page, please email us at contact@communicationsconsumerpanel.org.uk