Ofcom has published its 2018/19 Annual Plan, setting out the planned programme of work for the next financial year.
The regulator’s Annual Plan, which carries a budget of £124.2m, follows consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and the public, and this year includes:
• working with the industry to support investment in ultrafast fibre broadband networks;
• monitoring and reporting on progress around the legal separation of Openreach from BT;
• undertaking the first annual report on the BBC’s compliance with Ofcom requirements;
• preparing for future releases of airwaves to help increase the capacity and quality of UK mobile networks; and
• extending availability of broadband by starting implementation of a universal service obligation.
Ofcom says it will continue to work with the industry to promote investment by a range of companies in full-fibre and mobile infrastructure. Following its Wholesale Local Access market review, it will implement pricing measures designed to ensure affordable superfast broadband, while protecting incentives for companies to invest in ultrafast networks.
In broadcasting, the regulator has started its first BBC competition assessment, looking at plans to launch a new BBC digital television channel for Scottish audiences.
It will also publish its first annual report on the BBC’s performance, as well as a study on how well different audiences are represented and portrayed on BBC television. The review will ask what viewers expect from the BBC, and whether it adequately reflects the lives of people across the UK.
Additionally, Ofcom will publish its first report measuring the diversity of the UK’s radio industry, and a second report on diversity in UK television, providing a comprehensive picture of opportunity, diversity and inclusion in employment for individual broadcasters, and for the industry as a whole. It will also report on the prominence of public-service television channels on electronic programme guides (EPG).
As the UK continues the process of leaving the European Union, the regulator says it will continue to engage with European institutions, other EU regulators and the UK Government to ensure proposed changes to regulations under the Electronic Communications Framework and Audiovisual Media Services Directive meet UK consumers’ needs.