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A former HM Treasury official, White was named to the post of Ofcom chief executive in late 2014 and officially took up the role in March 2015, becoming both the first woman and the first black person to lead the telecoms regulator.
Taking charge of Ofcom at a time of immense change in the telecoms sector, White made her mark immediately, taking charge of the regulator’s review of the telecoms market which ultimately saw the legal separation of BT and Openreach.
She also oversaw a number of moves by the regulator to open up and expand access to full-fibre broadband, to improve customer service levels among the UK’s comms service providers, and to lay the groundwork for 5G.
At one time, White also appeared as a cartoon superhero on billboards when she became the subject of a lobbying campaign led by mobile operator Three, urging her to address perceived mobile radio spectrum imbalance.
“It’s been a huge privilege to lead Ofcom at a time when reliable, affordable communications have become essential,” said White. “I will leave behind an organisation that is dedicated in its mission to make communications work for everyone.”
Ofcom chair Terence Burns said: “Sharon has been an outstanding chief executive for Ofcom and will be missed by the whole organisation. Under Sharon’s leadership, Ofcom has helped to deliver ultrafast broadband, widespread 4G mobile and now 5G, and became the first independent regulator of the BBC.”
The Ofcom board will shortly begin the process of looking for a successor.
Read more about Ofcom
- The telecoms regulator is proposing new regulations on accessing Openreach’s infrastructure that it hopes will incentives others to roll out ultrafast networks quicker.
- There are still serious concerns about whether or not the 10Mbps broadband USO is fit for purpose, and Ofcom needs to take account of them, according to the House of Lords Select Committee for the Rural Economy.
- Regulator Ofcom is giving broadband, phone and pay-TV service providers nine months to ready their systems and processes for the emergence of new rules, designed to make it easier for consumers to switch providers.