The Panel's National Hubs and the impacts of Covid-19 on communications consumers

19 May 2020

During this time of crisis, we believe it is more important than ever that consumers, citizens and micro businesses can remain connected to communications services. We are seeing and hearing that communications services are truly essential services.

From the end of March to April 2020, we took the opportunity to check in with stakeholders from across the UK on the impacts of COVID-19 on the consumers, citizens and micro businesses they represent, looking at ways that Ofcom, governments and the communications industry could make this difficult time easier and fairer on people. Panel Members representing each of the Nations chaired a series of online meetings of the Panel’s National Hubs, to help us to feed in issues and proposed solutions that had been raised, to those who can make a difference.

The National Hubs were introduced as part of the Panel’s 2019/20 work plan to strengthen the voice of consumers, across the UK, in the communications industry. The Hubs have so far been attended by a range of consumer, citizen and small business representatives, including NGOs, policymakers, consumer protection organisations; and charities representing the interests of people who are older; carers; are living with a disability or long-term health condition; are in debt; live in rural communities or are digitally excluded. The themes of meetings are driven by current issues affecting consumers, citizens and micro businesses using communications services.

The Hubs’ particular areas of focus have included:
• Connectivity;
• Supporting people with additional support needs and designing new, inclusive services;
• Data protection;
• Scams/profiteering;
• Effective communications with customers;
• Digital exclusion;
• Affordability;
• Dissemination of fake news; and
• Barriers to communication for people with sensory loss.

To read a full summary of the issues discussed across all the Hubs, please click the link below:

Summary of the Panel's National Hubs - Covid-19 consumer issues

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