Telecoms review? What telecoms review?

UK.biz in the dark

British businesses are so clueless about telecoms policy in the UK that two thirds of companies are unaware that Ofcom is publishing a review into the industry today.

The fact that Ofcom's review could determine the future cost, spec and availability of high-speed telecommunications - so vital, we're told, to the future prosperity of the nation - it seems odd that it has failed to raise a glimmer of interest.

And it gets worse. It seems Ofcom - the monster communications regulator that has yet to celebrate its first birthday - has, erm, failed to communicate its remit effectively.

Just one in ten UK firms knows that Ofcom is the new telecoms regulator while a third thought Oftel - Ofcom's predecessor - was still the industry's regulator.

Astonishingly, one in 20 firms thought BT - the UK's dominant fixed line telco - was the UK's telecoms regulator.

According to Viatel, the European business telecoms outfit behind the research, it raises questions about just how effective Ofcom has been at engaging with UK businesses.

Said Viatel boss Lucy Woods: "Ofcom has spent, rightly, a deal of time talking to the larger telecoms companies upon whom its review could impact. But where is the voice of small and mid-sized businesses in this review? These businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy - the wealth creators. And they all depend on telecoms services in some shape or form.

"For whatever reason, these businesses have failed to engage with a piece of regulation that could ultimately impact their bottom-line. It is not a question of blame - but clearly this communication gap needs to be made good."

Ofcom publishes its review into the UK's telecoms sector later today. ®

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