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The future of communications regulation

The Government has previously indicated that it is prepared to “radically rethink” the existing Communications Act legislation, including the levels of regulation required. Given the Panel’s role in providing advice to Ofcom and government to ensure that the interests of consumers, citizens and small businesses are central to decisions, its expertise is particularly pertinent to the development of thinking around this legislation.

The Panel has sought to protect and benefit consumers by seeking to ensure that the new communications legislation reflects the needs of consumers in the sector – directly, by engaging with DCMS, and indirectly, by feeding into Ofcom’s thinking and facilitating discussion.

In May 2011 we responded to DCMS’ open letter on the future of communications regulation. Read our letter here pdf

In Summer 2012, Panel Chair Bob Warner chaired a DCMS policy seminar which took a cross-cutting look at the Consumer Perspective. The seminars were an important part of the work towards producing a White Paper in 2013, and eventually a Communications Bill. Communications Minister Ed Vaizey commenced proceedings, followed by a presentation from Ofcom to set the scene by setting out some key consumer trends and potential issues. A panel discussion featuring representatives from Virgin Media, Olswang LLP, Channel 4 and Which? then covered consumer threats and opportunities.  You can hear the audio recording, watch the video or read the transcript of the seminar at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120913095731/http://dcmscommsreview.readandcomment.com/consumers/

In September 2012, the Panel again wrote to DCMS outlining the areas it considered needed to be addressed by the new Bill to protect consumers. You can read our views here pdf