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Ofcom mug.jpg

I am moving on to a new position in the US and have therefore, stepped down as Chair of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for England (ACE) after chairing the committee from 2009.

On the day before my last meeting, on 12 June, I attended a reception at Oxford, wondering what the invited guests shared with each other. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was all about work with organisations like Ofcom.

SHAPING POLICY

Reflections on Chairing ACE
DP

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) has released its much vaunted, year long, study “Spreading the benefits of Digital Participation”, its blueprint for universal digital participation in Scotland. It stipulates three priority areas - access, motivation and skills development.

The internet needs to be a safe place
Google Glass

What comes after the mobile smart phone as we know it today? We’ve been talking to experts, reading what we can, and trying to imagine possible futures.

But we’re finding it very hard to gain a clear idea about what comes next. Many experts believe that we will get more of the same, such as an ever more powerful mobile phone that operates as a hub for multiple devices, ranging from keyboards to screens and other devices controlled by the hub*.

Issues over privacy and security will become even more critical to our lives
Welsh face

In October 2012 I gave a speech to the Royal Television Society’s annual lecture at the Pierhead.  In that speech, I first used the phrase “Democratic Deficit” to describe the gap in coverage that Welsh people face in the newspapers they read and the news programmes they watch.

I believe it is one of the most profound problems facing the devolution process in Wales.

UK media fails to report nations differences
Welsh flag

The big issue for the Advisory Committee for Wales is coverage, be it in telecommunications or broadcast media. 

The issue is driven by the absence of profitable commercial forces to provide citizens and businesses with the benefits of broadcast plurality and fast communications whether ‘on the move’ or at premises.

Mobile coverage for customers ‘on the move’ in Wales is poor.  It is made worse by the absence of roaming (other than for emergencies) and the absence of ‘use it or lose it’ clauses in mobile licences. 

Work needed to better understand problems faced by consumers
person on ipad.jpg

Although it’s been around for a few months, I’ve only just discovered Natali Helberger’s paper for BEUC Forms matter: informing consumers effectively.

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BBC online story

Wales is not making the most of a £425m contract to roll out superfast broadband in rural areas, according to the former head of BT in Wales.

John Davies, who is now Chair of Ofcom's Advisory Committee for Wales, says more needs to be spent on marketing the project, which is heavily backed with public money.

Mr Davies said the project was transformative but more needed to be done to make people aware of when it is rolled out in their communities to encourage demand for the high-speed broadband.

Superfast Cymru scheme replaces copper lines with fibre cables
Racial diversity

The lovely thing about computers is that they have search facilities when it comes to scouring key words in documents. When you put ‘diversity’ into Ofcom’s Annual Plan 2014-15 it makes five references in its thousands of words.

All of them are rather anodyne, giving the impression to those of us passionate about diversity that it really is not at the heart of this regulator’s thinking, even though it is. Take, for example:

The eye has been taken off the racial diversity ball
Lenny Henry

Barnie Choudhury, my colleague on the Advisory Committee for England (ACE), brought my attention to Lenny Henry’s BAFTA speech, which is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OQDDYgh5Jk

Yes, says Lenny Henry
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