Feeds

Ofcom acts to improve consumer protection

Slowly does it

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

For many caught up in the Bulldog debacle, this was too little, too late, and exposed a yawning gap in the role of the regulator and its willingness to protect the best interests of consumers. Even now, if there is a telecoms cock-up that affects large numbers of people who all complain to Ofcom, the regulator's response is that it will monitor the situation to see if there is a clear pattern of complaints. Under its current approach, it is only once a clear pattern has been identified - in the case of Bulldog, it took more than two months - that the regulator will consider investigating.

One recent press report suggested Ofcom was proposing to introduce a new watchdog - "CommsWatch", if you like - which would be charged with keeping a close eye on the industry and handling customer complaints. But a spokesman for Ofcom told El Reg it was unlikely such a body would be created. So, back to square one.

The importance of proper consumer protection cannot be overstated. Ofcom has gone out of its way to liberalise the UK's telecoms sector, to create an environment that will nurture competition. And it's working. Millions are being invested in local loop unbundling (LLU) including AOL, Carphone, Sky and Wanadoo, and the predictions are that as many as three million lines could be unbundled this year alone.

For many people, they won't know it's happening because their broadband line will be moved as part of a bulk migration. Fine, if it all goes well. But there's always the chance things might not go to plan. Likewise, in the competitive world that Ofcom has helped create, there are bound to be casualties. What then? Ten weeks of monitoring the situation, or action from a regulator that is serious about consumer protection? ®

* Details of Ofcom's consultation can be found here. The closing date for submission is April 19.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.