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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
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
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.