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Ofcom gets Govt Go-ahead

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The Government has given the green light to create a new all-encompassing single regulator for the media and telecoms industries.

Today it published the Office of Communications Bill which paves the way for the creation of Ofcom.

If the Bill passes smoothly through parliament Ofcom should be up and running in 2003.

A draft Communications Bill is to be published in this session of parliament.

The Bill includes details on the formal establishment of Ofcom, which will replace five existing regulators including Oftel, the Independent and the Broadcasting Standards Commission plus the regulatory powers it will hold.

In a statement Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "Today's Bill is the first step in a two-stage process that will transform the communications sector.

"This Bill will pave the way for establishment of Ofcom.

"Later in the session we will publish the draft of the full Communications Bill which will set out the powers and duties of Ofcom and enable it to replace the five existing regulators," she said. ®

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