Ofcom has published its draft annual plan for the 12 months ahead, promising fair and effective competition in the delivery of pay-TV services, and the sell off of spectrum created through the Digital Dividend.
The regulator has said that following last year’s Wholesale Must Offer imposed on BSkyB, requiring it to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 to retailers of other platforms at prices set by Ofcom, it would continue to monitor take-up of services resulting from the remedy. At the same time Ofcom said in train a market investigation reference to the Competition Commission on subscription movies, particularly subscription video on demand services.
Ofcom has previous studied to ability of the public to switch between communications services, particular telephony and broadband, but it is now including pay-TV providers in a consultation that began last September. Work is also underway to support the rollout of next generation access broadband by BT and other providers. In a review published in October BT was required to offer virtual unbundled local access (VULA) to its next-generation fibre infrastructure and to open up access to the ducts and poles in its local access network.
Ahead of spectrum awards in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands Ofcom is undertaking spectrum clearance. It is assessing the impact that the launch of mobile broadband in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands could have on adjacent services, including radar in the 2.7 GHz band (also known as S-band).
DTT services will be cleared by channels 61 and 62 at the bottom of the 800 MHz band during the course of 2011 and 2012. This will clear the way for a spectrum auction during 2011/12 with the first awards made by the end of 2011/12 or early in 2012/13, dependent on a public consultation.