Feeds

MPs give Ofcom a high def battering

Don't mess with Chorley

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Ofcomwatch Ofcom received a battering before a joint Trade and Industry and Culture, Media and Sport select committee yesterday.

The session, which was scheduled to grill the telecoms regulator on its Annual Plan 2007/08 focused mainly on a number of topical, high profile issues and highlighted the ever-political nature of "independent" communications regulation.

Ofcom received most scrutiny and negative reaction from MPs in respect to its Digital Dividend Review (DDR) consultation. MPs on the committees appear to believe that a number of Ofcom's initial DDR conclusions were wrong and are slightly distrustful of leaving a public policy matter solely to the regulator.

There was a further suggestion that Ofcom's initial research on the issue of reallocating spectrum was weak and failed to consult widely enough.

On this point, Lindsay Hoyle, MP (Lab, Chorley) asked: "How do you consult with Mrs Jones of Chorley? Which local newspapers do you take out adverts in?" An answer wasn't forthcoming from Ofcom chief Ed Richards.

In particular, MPs wanted to know why Ofcom wouldn't just automatically be handing broadcasters a slice of the spectrum released by the analog switch-off, in order to deliver HD services over the DTT Freeview platform.

Ofcom CEO Ed Richards explained the dangers of gifting spectrum to any particular use given the sizeable opportunity cost that would be incurred by doing so. He said: "Nothing comes free in spectrum anymore."

Richards then went on explain that the broadcasters already have the resources on the Freeview platform to broadcast in HD if they choose to allocate resource in that way, rather than in the current configuration.

MPs remained unhappy saying most people who were buying a HD ready television thought that they would automatically be getting HD services.

In addition, the regulator flagged up the ever-growing number of compression standards available to broadcasters, making it likely that by switchover in 2012 it will be significantly easier to squeeze HD services out of the Freeview multiplex than it is today.

The regulator told the committee that Ofcom would release another DDR-related document before the summer. Expect fireworks to fly as Ofcom tries to balance a huge range of potential uses for the released allocation. This is the issue where politics and regulation meet head on.

We'll keep watching. ®

Ofcomwatch blog logo

Luke Gibbs is co-founder of the Ofcomwatch blog. Read his in-depth interview with Ofcom's chief executive Ed Richards here.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.