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Ofcom to get tough in 2007

New chief exec says time for generosity is over

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Newly minted Ofcom boss Ed Richards laid out a tougher approach to UK media and telecommunications regulation in an interview with the Financial Times yesterday.

Richards said: "We have been pretty generous over time and now is the time to start saying: 'Come on guys, get into line, make sure you comply with the codes'."

He also announced that he wouldn't be allowing ITV to reduce its children's television programming, despite its inability to make much money from it and the existence of an increasing choice of competition.

Ofcom announced last week that it would be investigating allegations that the Post Office has been switching people to their fixed-line service without approval. Mr Richards suggested that with the introduction of an easier transition process, due in February, such practices could spread to broadband too, and Ofcom would be ready to act in such cases.

Switching broadband providers will be an area of particular focus, with companies who fail to hand over transition codes promptly - leaving customers disconnected - being targeted for non-compliance.

Public service broadcasting will also be reviewed before the planned switch off of analogue services in 2012. ®

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