Ofcom lays out telecoms priorities for coming year

ofcom

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has released a new consultation spelling out its key priorities for the year ahead, with the promotion of faster broadband throughout the UK and work to support the implementation of 5G high on the agenda.

In the document, the organisation noted that preparing for the launch of 5G will be essential in 2019-20, as this will have various regulatory implications that must be understood.

For instance, the regulator said there will be questions relating to how the technology affects net neutrality, as well as what steps will need to be taken to ensure 5G can provide fixed wireless services.

Ofcom will also be engaging with consumers and businesses to help raise awareness of the benefits of 5G services.

"We will also work to understand the signal strengths required to deliver good coverage across the full range of 5G services," the consultation stated. "We will provide regulatory support for industry testing and early deployments throughout the year, to ensure good outcomes for UK industry and consumers."

As well as this, Ofcom laid out plans to improve the quality of mobile services by a further award of spectrum bands once they are released. This process is expected to begin in the second half of the year, with auction applications expected to take place in December 2019.

Meanwhile, the organisation will also be looking to improve the availability and speed of fixed-line broadband services around the UK. This will include work to implement the government's Universal Service Obligation (USO), which will give every premises in the UK the right to request a connection with speeds of at least 10Mbps.

This will involve Ofcom determining which suppliers will be designated as USO providers and what their responsibilities will be under this.

The regulator will also work to promote the wider deployment of full fibre networks and encourage long-term investment in the technology.

Ofcom said: "We will publish a statement in Q2 regarding our assessment of the market for physical infrastructure, with a view to introducing an unrestricted duct and pole access remedy."