Internet access a human right?

Human rights are clearly important. However, (and the watcher is nervous of stepping into Ken Clarke territory here) some are rather more fundamental than others – so I was somewhat bemused to read the recent United Nations ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression’ by Frank …

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Ofcom revise dispute resolution guidelines

Ofcom yesterday published revised guidelines for the handling of regulatory disputes. Whilst these revised guidelines are ostensibly a response to the revised European Regulatory Framework, as implemented by the Electronic Communications and Wireless Telegraphy Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/1210), in reality they also address significant judicial criticism of Ofcom’s approach to dispute handling. The apogee of this criticism …

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Ofcom start consultation on technical licence conditions for 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum auctions

Ofcom today published a consultation on technical licence conditions for 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz UK spectrum auctions, due to take place in 2012. This follows their earlier general consultation on the auctions. Responses are due by 28 July. Ofcom is consulting in parallel on specific additional technical restrictions that may be needed for co-existence …

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UK Government starts Communications Act review

As previously anticipated, the UK started this week a wholesale review of the legislation in the communications sector. Minister Jeremy Hunt published an open letter seeking replies by 30 June. The letter addresses 3 themes: Growth, innovation and deregulation; A communications infrastructure that provides the foundations for growth; and Creating the right environment for the content …

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UK Parliament launches inquiry into spectrum

The UK system of government and regulation can sometimes be confusing, with the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the House of Commons this week announcing an inquiry into the use of spectrum in the UK and issuing a call for written evidence. The Select Committee is neither the national regulatory authority with responsibility …

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BT accounts reveal fear of retrospective price adjustments

BT announced its annual results today. Press comment focused on BT’s profit growth and the reduction in their pension deficit. However, both of those stories are not quite such good news for BT as might be supposed. Profit growth came from BT cutting costs faster than the fall in BT’s revenues – trends which are …

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Ofcom has wide jurisdiction and discretion to accept and resolve disputes

The CAT today rejected BT’s arguments that Ofcom has a narrow jurisdiction to accept and resolve disputes referred to it by Communications Providers pursuant to Section 185 of the Communications Act 2003. The CAT joined two cases (one relating to ‘ladder pricing’  and one to charges for ethernet services above DSAC) in both of which BT …

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Setting fixed termination rates for all UK operators benchmarked to BT’s cost-orientated termination rates appropriate SMP remedy say Ofcom

It is a logical quirk of the European telecoms regulatory system that the provision of call termination is a regulated activity for all Communications Providers – however small. This quirk comes about because rather than just regulating the big ugly beasts of the telecoms landscape, the European system regulates on the logically elegant basis of …

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UK implementation of revised EU telecoms (electronic communications) framework published

The UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (and although not in the title, telecoms) today published its response to the consultation on implementation of the revised EU electronic communications framework in the UK. In contrast to the original introduction of the current EU Framework in 2003 which necessitated tearing up the Telecommunications Act 1984 …

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Spectrum, broadband, customer switching and online piracy Ofcom’s telecoms priorities for 2011/12

I hope all readers noticed the date for Friday’s blog post (taken down on 2 April) and are not planning on bidding in the teleportation spectrum auction. Avoiding the obvious pitfall of announcing anything serious on 1 April, Ofcom today published its Annual Plan for 2011/12. As a regular, if not avid, reader of such …

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