Ofcom slammed for lack of business broadband focus

The Communications Management Association has slammed Ofcom for failing to represent the ICT needs of businesses in drafting regulations.

The Communications Management Association has slammed Ofcom for failing to represent the ICT needs of businesses in drafting regulations.

Speaking at the CMA's 2008 Annual Conference in London today (26 February), Carolyn Kimber, chariman of the CMA, said businesses needed increased competition and choice for mobile and broadband services, but that the telecoms regulator was too focused on ensuring consumer competition.

"We cannot repeat too often to people that business needs are not the goals of the consumer. The communication needs of the business users are overlooked by lawmakers and regulators in favour of consumer needs and the needs of the supplier community," Kimber said.

She said that ensuring comparable prices and quality connections for businesses was key for attracting international investment from enterprises abroad, especially in the manufacturing sector, but that Ofcom has failed to take this seriously.

"Countries like Japan have invested heavily in its ICT infrastructure and have linked that investment to a 40% increase in Japanese GDP. I can see no progress here," Kimber said.

Kimber criticised the recent proposal by Ofcom to de-regulate broadband wholesale markets saying that the regulator had not accounted for business needs, and also said that the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform had championed the needs of mobile suppliers and ignored the need for cheap roaming for business users.

Peter Phillips, partner of strategy and market developments at Ofcom, said that the misconception of the telecom regulator’s role could be put down to the amount of air time consumer issues get in the media and that Ofcom was committed to business users. 

“When we speak about consumers, we mean the full gamut of enterprise customers, and not just the domestic ones. We look to deregulate where there is a case for bothe the business and consumer,” he said.

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