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COVID-19 – Ofcom Delays UK Telecoms Work for 2020 to 2021

Thursday, April 30th, 2020 (11:40 am) - Score 2,147
ofcom uk telecoms regulator

In an unsurprising development Ofcom has today published a revision of their proposed annual work plan for 2020/21, which has naturally resulted in various delays to their broadband (e.g. full fibre competition), mobile (e.g. 5G auctions) and related regulation work due to the on-going COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.

The original plan was published in January 2020 (here) but since then COVID-19 has had a significant impact due to the lockdown and social distancing restrictions, although this doesn’t always show in the broad strokes quarterly dating format that Ofcom has used in their updated plan today.

For example, the regulator’s consultation on promoting investment and competition in “full fibre” broadband ISP networks (here), which is part of the Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review 2021-26, was originally open for responses until 1st April but this has now been extended until 22nd May 2020.

Similarly Ofcom’s original plan to award new radio bands to mobile network operators as they are released (e.g. 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz for 5G mobile) was originally targeted for Q1 2020/21, but under the revised plan this is now merely listed as 2020/21 in general (i.e. it could happen at any point over the next 12 months).

On top of that the related 700MHz spectrum clearance work, which was due to finish by May 2020, is now listed for a final update in Q3 2020/21 but is also on “pause“. We’ve pasted the bulk of Ofcom’s revised work plan below. Otherwise we note that there has been a slight revision to the UK Government’s proposed spending cap for Ofcom’s budget in 2020/21, which has changed from £133.6m in January to £131.9m now.

NOTE: We’ve skipped some of the less broadband, internet and mobile specific areas (e.g. BBC regulation, increasing diversity etc.) in order to make this fit.

ofcom revised annual plan 2020-21

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Alex (RefineGroup Ltd.) says:

    Hi Mark,

    Regarding “full fibre” roll out delays…

    Before the pandemic hit my road finally become full fibre ready using Openreach’s fibre checker. I placed an order with BT and received an engineer date. Unfortunately the engineer was due to visit on the 1st day of lockdown and was there fore cancelled.

    Now when I check with both BT and Openreach it says “fibre coming soon”?

    Would you say they have changed the status to prevent new orders? All I can think of IMO.

    Cheers,
    Alex

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      A lot of ISPs have simply taken the easy option of removing those products from sale or putting a block on new orders. However if you’re an NHS worker, classified as vulnerable or have no other broadband connection then you can still call up and order it from an ISP (assuming the service is live). But yes, generally COVID-19 has created a lot of problems.

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