Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, has revealed its proposed Plan of Work for 2024/25, charting a course for the upcoming fiscal year. This comprehensive plan comes on the heels of the momentous passing of the Online Safety Act in October 2023, marking a pivotal juncture in Ofcom’s two-decade history and a decisive stride towards creating a safer digital environment.
The plan delineates strategic focal points aimed at steering the nation towards a more dependable internet landscape, bolstering media credibility, fostering online safety, and propelling wireless services to bolster the wider economy.
Building Trust in Internet Services
Ofcom’s blueprint emphasizes the need for high-quality, universally accessible networks while ensuring their reliability and security. Central to this objective is cultivating consumer confidence and enabling informed choices within an affordable service framework. Projects earmarked for realization in 2024/25 include the Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review, fortifying network security under the Telecoms Security Act, managing technological transitions, and safeguarding consumer interests through vigilant monitoring.
Fostering Trustworthy Media
The regulator aims to cultivate a media environment where audiences can access diverse, high-quality content while being shielded from harmful material. Ensuring fair competition among providers and safeguarding freedom of expression remains a cornerstone. Projects outlined encompass support for Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) reforms, upholding broadcasting standards, assessing local media markets, and monitoring the performance of key broadcasting entities.
Securing Safer Online Experiences
Ofcom underscores the imperative of robust governance, design, and operations to mitigate risks and ensure user safety in digital spaces. Empowering users with control over their online experiences, along with establishing Ofcom as a reliable online safety arbiter, forms the crux of this initiative.
Outlined projects include implementing the online safety regime, engaging with high-risk online services, fortifying operational efficiency, and continuing regulatory oversight over video-sharing platforms and media literacy programs.
Empowering Wireless Services for Economic Growth
Ofcom’s vision extends to optimizing spectrum use to accommodate the burgeoning demands of the communications industry and cater to sector-specific requirements. Strategic projects entail supporting network evolution, innovating in spectrum sharing approaches, reviewing the spectrum management framework, and sustaining international leadership in spectrum management.
Ofcom encourages public engagement and feedback on the proposed Plan of Work, with a deadline for responses set at 5pm on February 9, 2024. Additionally, the regulator plans to host events in January across the UK to gather further input. The final plan is slated for publication in March 2024, marking a significant step toward a more secure and robust digital future.