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Independent regulator and competition authority
for the UK communications industries

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Statutory Duties and Regulatory Principles

Ofcom was established as a body corporate by the Office of Communications Act 2002. Ofcom operates under a number of Acts of Parliament and other legislation. These include the Communications Act 2003, the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006, the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996, the Digital Economy Act 2010 and the Postal Services Act 2011. Ofcom is the regulator for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, postal, telecommunications and wireless communications services.

Ofcom’s Statutory Duties

Under the Communications Act 2003:

” 3(1) It shall be the principal duty of Ofcom, in carrying out their functions;
(a) to further the interests of citizens in relation to communications matters; and
(b) to further the interests of consumers in relevant markets, where appropriate by promoting competition”

Ofcom’s role includes securing:

  1. the optimal use for wireless telegraphy of the electro-magnetic spectrum;
  2. that a wide range of electronic communications services is available throughout the UK;
  3. that a wide range of TV and radio services of high quality and wide appeal are available in the UK;
  4. that sufficient plurality in the providers of different television and radio services is maintained;
  5. adequate protection for members of the public and others against offensive or harmful material
  6. adequate protection for members of the public and others against unfair treatment in programmes or unwarranted infringement of privacy

Under the Postal Services Act 2011:

“29(1) Ofcom must carry out their functions in relation to postal services in a way that they consider will secure the provision of a universal postal service.”

Ofcom’s Regulatory Principles

  • Ofcom will regulate with a clearly articulated and publicly reviewed annual plan, with stated policy objectives.
  • Ofcom will intervene where there is a specific statutory duty to work towards a public policy goal which markets alone cannot achieve.
  • Ofcom will operate with a bias against intervention, but with a willingness to intervene firmly, promptly and effectively where required.
  • Ofcom will strive to ensure its interventions will be evidence-based, proportionate, consistent, accountable and transparent in both deliberation and outcome.
  • Ofcom will always seek the least intrusive regulatory mechanisms to achieve its policy objectives.
  • Ofcom will research markets constantly and will aim to remain at the forefront of technological understanding.

Ofcom will consult widely with all relevant stakeholders and assess the impact of regulatory action before imposing regulation upon a market.

Office of Communications Act 2002

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Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA

If you want advice from Ofcom please visit our advice pages or call us on 0300 123 3333 or 020 7981 3040.
We are open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Annual Report 2012 – 13

Download our latest annual report:

Annual Report 2012-13