Government asks Ofcom to promote investment and improve protection for consumers in telecoms market

1 Nov 2019 09:55 AM

For the first time Government sets out the priorities it wants Ofcom to focus on so people can benefit from faster, more resilient internet connections

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan yesterday laid out the Government’s ambitions for the telecommunications regulator, including helping to roll out nationwide gigabit speed broadband as soon as possible and clamping down on unfair business practices in telecoms.

As part of Ofcom’s first Statement of Strategic Priorities (SSP), the Government has also asked the organisation to do more to promote investment by broadband network providers and support new entrants to the market.

The statement also requires Ofcom to work to make sure customers are better informed and protected, to make it easier for people to switch broadband providers and for an overall improvement in the quality of service customers, especially the vulnerable, receive.

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

We’ve asked our world-class regulator Ofcom to help deliver on our shared ambitions to give people the digital and mobile connections they need and deserve.

We need a vibrant and competitive market to get gigabit broadband across the UK and we want Ofcom to encourage industry to get the job done.

We’ve announced £5 billion so everyone benefits from the fastest internet speeds no matter where they are, but we also want better protection for consumers and for them to be able to switch services more easily.

While it is independent from Government, Ofcom has a legal duty to pay regard to the Statement when carrying out its work. The future outcomes the Government wants to see are:

The Government has announced £5 billion of funding to make sure the hardest-to-reach 20% of the country get gigabit speed internet at the same time that the market delivers it in more built-up areas.

The Prime Minister and the Digital Secretary set out the Government’s ambition to achieve this by 2025 to level up the country with the world-class digital infrastructure it needs to compete and grow in the modern global economy.

On mobile coverage, the SSP reiterates the Government’s commitment to extend geographic mobile coverage to 95% of the UK. Last week the Government announced it supports a £1 billion plan with industry to build and share a network of rural phone masts to achieve this aim.

Notes to Editors