Ofcom advisory board lacks user representation

No users have been invited to sit on regulator Ofcom's spectrum advisory board to deal with rolling out wireless technologies.

No users have been invited to sit on regulator Ofcom's spectrum advisory board to deal with rolling out wireless technologies.

The board is seen as pivotal in the way Ofcom manages the UK's spectrum frequencies to handle solutions built using wireless data technologies such as 2.5G, 3G, Wi-Fi wireless Lans and the upcoming Wimax standard, which will allow end-users to work on a wireless Lan over distances of kilometres rather than metres.

The spectrum advisory board has representatives from mobile handset manufacturers, mobile operators, a cable company, industry analysts and various universities, but no telecoms users or user groups.

The Communications Management Association (CMA) is dismayed by the decision to exclude any form of user representation from the board.

A CMA spokesman said, "We intend to take up the matter with Ofcom."

The association sees efficient spectrum management as a key area if the government is to achieve its aim of Broadband Britain. It has submitted a paper to Ofcom on the subject, which included key recommendations on spectrum management.

Ofcom said its policy of protecting the "citizen consumer" also includes strongly protecting the interests of businesses.

A spokesman for Ofcom said, "In setting up the board, Ofcom sought to draw on the broadest possible range of experience and the greatest depth of knowledge in what is a highly complex and important area of technology.

"Advisory board members have been selected on the basis that their skills are complementary," the spokesman said.

"The board is not the only source of expert external opinion on spectrum issues. It also has a working relationship with the Federation of Communications Services which represents the views of many spectrum users and in particular provides a voice for small users."

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