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 industry to thrive.

The letter seeks views on a number of questions:

Q1. What could a healthier communications market look like? How can the right balance be achieved between investment, competition and services in a changing technological environment?

 Q2.  What action can be taken to facilitate greater innovation and growth across the wider competition regime, and how can deregulation help achieve this?

 Q3. Is regulatory convergence across different platforms desirable and, if so, what are the potential issues to implementation?

 Q4. What barriers can be removed to facilitate greater exports and inward investment and make the UK more globally competitive in digital communications?

Q5. What further market and regulatory developments would lead to widespread take-up of superfast broadband? What regulatory action would government need to take to make superfast broadband more readily available in a) urban areas; and, b) rural areas?

 Q6.   What are the competing demands for spectrum, how is the market changing and how can a regulatory framework best accommodate any rapidly changing demands on spectrum and market development?

 Q7. How should spectrum be managed to deliver our growth objectives whilst also meeting our policy objectives of furthering the interests of citizens and consumers in relation to communications matters?

 Q8. How should the UK engage on an EU/International level in relation to spectrum?

 Q9. Is the current mix of regulation, competition and Government intervention right to stimulate investment in communications networks?

Q10. Are there disproportionate regulatory barriers to investment in content? If so, what are they and how can increased investment in UK content production be encouraged?

 Q11. Should the core focus of public service broadcasting be on original UK content?

 Q12.  What barriers are there to innovation in new digital media sectors, including video games, telemedicine, local television and education?

 Q13. Where has self- and co-regulation worked successfully and what can be learnt from specific approaches? Where specific approaches haven’t worked, how can the framework of content regulation be made sufficiently coherent and not create barriers to growth, but at the same time protect citizens and enable consumer confidence?