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Proposals for implementing Oftel’s Strategy: Draft Management Plan for 2000/01

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Consultation document issued by the Director General of Telecommunications

February 2000


Contents

Foreword from Director General of Telecommunications

Chapter 1          Introduction

Chapter 2          Implementing the Strategy – 2000/01 Management Plan

Chapter 3          Consultation

Appendix 1       Project and programmes by subject

Appendix 2       Resource summary

Glossary


Foreword from Director General of Telecommunications

The draft 2000/1 Management Plan sets out the way in which Oftel intends to implement the strategy we set out in the statement Achieving the best deal for consumers, which was published in January. Central to the strategy is a move to lighter-touch regulation as competition develops, while continuing to protect and inform consumers where the market cannot do so.

The 2000/1 Management Plan represents the first steps in the implementation of Oftel’s strategy and is a key opportunity for stakeholders to contribute to our policy development.

The draft 2000/1 Management Plan summarises the strategy and lists the projects and programmes by which the strategy will be implemented through Oftel’s day to day work.

This consultative document seeks views from consumers, consumer groups, suppliers, and all others with an interest in getting the best deal for consumers. All responses, which are due by 31 March, will be considered when the Management Plan is finalised for publication. The Plan will be published by the end of April, 2000.

I look forward to receiving your responses.

DAVID EDMONDS

DIRECTOR GENERAL OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS

contents


Chapter One

Introduction

The Management Plan and the Strategy

1.1 In January, 2000 Oftel published a statement of its strategy – Achieving the best deal for consumers (the Strategy). The statement gives a clear picture of the regulatory approach which Oftel is developing as a response to the growth of competition in the UK telecoms market.

1.2 The draft Management Plan in this consultative document shows how the Strategy will be implemented. It sets out Oftel’s proposed projects and programmes and shows how they are organised and monitored.

1.3 We welcome views from all interested parties. All comments will be taken into account before the final version of the Plan is issued in April 2000.

The Strategy

1.4 The ‘competition plus’ Strategy published in January 2000 states Oftel’s goal, the objectives it will pursue to achieve its goal and a set of regulatory principles which will help guide the implementation of its Strategy. These key Strategy elements are summarised in paragraphs 1.7 to 1.10 below.

1.5 The following three key factors were central to the development the Management Plan for 2000/1 in the context of Oftel’s Strategy

(i) the consumer is central – Oftel’s overriding goal is to obtain the best deal for the consumer in terms of quality, choice and value for money. Effective competition is the best way of ensuring this and, where it is secured, regulation can diminish.

(ii) over-regulation, especially in a rapidly developing market, can stifle incentives to invest and innovate. Regulation should be imposed only where it is justified and should be appropriate and proportionate to the level of competition in the market. Where competition is not yet effective, or where competition, even if effective, does not provide sufficient protection for consumers, Oftel will continue to regulate.

(iii) the process of moving to lighter regulation, where appropriate, is not an ‘easy option’. It means fundamental changes to regulatory policies and greater involvement of stakeholders in co-regulatory and self-regulatory initiatives. More monitoring of consumer and market behaviour is needed in advance of decisions, coupled with the application of carefully researched, developed and targeted policy actions where these are needed.

1.6 Oftel’s goal of achieving the best deal for consumers is supported by the four outcome-based objectives described. These are underpinned by the ten principles of regulation set out in paragraph 1.11 below.

1.7 Effective competition

The outcome is the benefit of effective competition (ie lower prices, higher quality, and more choice of services for consumers) rather than competition for its own sake. ‘Effective competition’ means that it is sustainable (ie does not depend on sector specific regulation to survive) and that consumers are able to exercise choice effectively.

1.8 Well informed consumers able to take advantage of choice

Consumers must have adequate, reliable information so that they are in a position to choose the best combination of services and suppliers. Well informed consumers are a necessary element of an effectively competitive market.

1.9 Adequately protected consumers

Where effective competition is not achieved some consumers may need protection. Also there are circumstances where even if competition exists, some regulatory action is needed to protect consumers’ interests, for example in the provision of universal telecommunications service.

1.10 Prevention of all significant anti-competitive practices

Oftel will have a rigorous and vigilant policy of policing anti-competitive behaviour and will use wherever necessary its range of powers under the Competition Act.

Principles of regulation

1.11 A set of principles has been developed for each objective.

Objectives Principles
All objectives I. Regulate only where it is likely to bring benefit to consumers. Keep regulation to the minimum necessary to obtain appropriate outcomes.
Effective competition II. Where competition is increasing but not yet effective, promotion of competition is acceptable so long as

– competition is sustainable without regulation in the longer term and

– it does not create disincentives for new entrants or incumbents to invest in infrastructure or to innovate in the provision of new services.

Regulation to promote competition/protect consumers should become progressively ‘lighter touch’ as the market gets near to effective competition.

III. Cease to promote competition when there is effective competition. Assessment of effective competition to be based on standard competition analysis that takes account of benefits obtained by consumers.
Well informed consumer IV. Encourage greater awareness on the part of consumers so they are able to make competition effective and to rely less on regulation. Rely on standard consumer legislation wherever this is sufficient.
V. Encourage industry to meet the needs of consumers rather than to rely on regulation.
Adequately protected consumers VI. Where competition cannot provide agreed services to all at affordable prices, regulate to ensure there is such provision in a way that minimises distorting effects. Geographically averaged prices should be used only for supply of basic service to ensure network access by all.
VII. Control of prices should be limited to those areas where competition is ineffective now and in prospect (4 years+).
VIII. Where competition is not in prospect or the market, of itself, will not meet consumer needs, regulate to replicate efficient outcomes subject to not undermining incentives to innovate. Ensure resources are managed efficiently but seek market solutions wherever feasible.
IX. Encourage industry, wherever feasible, to regulate itself in those areas where a common approach is necessary to meet consumer needs ie either to provide service or for the development of competition. Any Oftel role to be a fallback one.
Prevention of significant anti-competitive practice X. Rely on competition legislation to control anti-competitive behaviour wherever possible: licence conditions may be used to promote competition where competition legislation is inappropriate or where there is an abuse of market power short of dominance: where licence conditions are used, be explicit why and for what purpose.

 

Methods for implementing the Strategy

1.12 All proposed regulatory actions will have to be carefully considered to ensure that they are justified in terms of Oftel’s goal, objectives and principles set out above.

1.13 Oftel will also:

  • hold an ‘effective competition’ workshop for stakeholders in Spring 2000;
  • carry out regular market reviews and reviews of other policy areas;
  • use a rigorous and transparent process for assessing the costs and benefits of policy proposals;
  • encourage the telecoms industry and other stakeholders to take on more responsibility in areas where there is scope self-regulation and co-regulation.

Market and other reviews

1.14 These reviews will focus on the extent of competition and the effectiveness of consumer protection in particular areas of the market. There will be two cycles of reviews – one cycle for markets and one cycle for consumer protection policies – to identify whether, and if so what, regulation is required and to take appropriate action as a result.

1.15 The market segment review process will involve:

  • defining the market segment to be reviewed in terms of services/products and groups of consumers;
  • assessing market segment characteristics against a series of effective competition indicators;
  • comparing the ‘deal’ for UK telecoms consumers against that available for consumers in other leading economies (through international benchmarking studies);
  • forming a view, as a result of the above assessments, of whether the market is effectively competitive now or in prospect or not effectively competitive in the foreseeable future;
  • depending on the view formed, identifying the implications for regulation, with reviews of specific policy and programme areas triggered as a result;
  • establishing a time path to avoid over regulation as competition develops.

1.16 Reviews of key market segments will usually be carried out on the basis of a two-year cycle. A proposed timetable, which will be finalised in the first quarter of 2000, is set out below:

Figure 2: Market Reviews – proposed review cycles Table 1

illustration

contents


Chapter Two

Implementing the Strategy – the 2000/1 Management Plan

2.1 The 2000/1 Management Plan is the first step in implementing Oftel’s Strategy. Projects and programmes have been reviewed to align then with the outcome-based objectives of the Strategy. For example the projects and programmes dedicated to well informed customers have been increased and project and programme summaries now show exit strategies or market segment review dates.

Major issues

2.2 Within the wide range of projects and programmes Oftel will undertake in 2000/1, there are a number of major issues which can usefully be highlighted:

  • under the objective of ‘effective competition – benefiting consumers’, action to enable local loop unbundling so that service providers can provide high bandwidth services across BT’s direct-to-the-home lines will play an important part in the development of the UK’s information society;
  • reviews will be carried out of the mobile, access to Internet and leased lines market segments. These reviews will assess the level of competition in these market segments and the results will be used to develop the appropriate regulatory actions for these areas;
  • Oftel will enable consumers to be well informed through a range of initiatives, including working with the industry to provide more transparent price and quality of service information;
  • in terms of consumer protection, the main decision to be taken in 2000/1 is the setting of controls, where these are found to be needed, on the prices of certain groups of BT services;
  • work under the objective of the prevention of anti-competitive practice will be on a significantly different basis as from March 2000 as Oftel’s powers under the Competition Act 1998 come fully into force. The incentive will now be on industry players to ensure they do not take actions that leave them open to challenge under the Act and potentially subject to significant fines.

2.3 All of Oftel’s work for 2000/1 will take place against a background of an evolving legislative framework:

  • recommendations will begin to emerge from the EU following the 1999 review of telecoms directives;
  • the current single regulator arrangement will be replaced by a telecoms authority; and
  • the process of replacing the Telecoms Act 1984 with a new Communications Bill will begin.

2.4 These external changes and actions will take place at the same time as internal reform resulting from Oftel implementing changes under the Government’s Civil Service Reform initiatives.

Structure of the Management Plan

2.5 The Management Plan sets out projects and programmes under their primary objective under the Strategy, with additional groupings of framework projects and business support programmes.

2.6 A – Effective competition – benefiting consumers

These projects involve assessing whether competition is effective and taking appropriate action. The review process, including international benchmarking, will be resource intensive and include external sources. Where competition needs to be promoted, this will be done by enabling supplier access to networks, promoting competition in new and existing markets, and addressing market failures to provide information. A number of areas – especially with regard to the local loop – will, in 2000/01 require detailed evaluation and assessment (including external, expert input) to ensure policy decisions are appropriately targeted.

2.7 B – Well informed consumers

These projects and programmes will provide information for consumers to ensure that they can make the best choices, and include projects which measure levels of customer awareness.

2.8 C – Adequately protected consumers

These projects and programmes protect consumer interests. The nature of telecoms means that there are circumstances where regulatory action is needed to protect consumers’ interests, for example, by preventing social exclusion which could result from certain groups being unable to get access to key telecoms services. Most consumers are increasingly demanding protection of their interests.

2.9 D – Prevention of significant anti-competitive practice

These projects and programmes are to police potentially anti-competitive behaviour and to exercise Oftel’s powers under the Competition Act and licences. An increase in the extent of compliance investigations required is expected and this is reflected in the additional resources needed by Oftel

2.10 E – Framework projects

These are projects to define and shape the overall framework within which regulation works. These include those dealing with the wider international context of regulation, potential changes due to domestic legislation, and the need to develop and publish thinking on strategy.

2.11 F – Business Support Directorate

These projects and programmes are focussed on (i) providing the quality resource management, communications and support services necessary for the business objectives; and (ii) working in line with the Government’s overall programme of renewal and reform (the Modernising Government White Paper of March 1999).

2.12 The table below sets out the proposed organisation of the projects/programmes and is followed by project and programme summaries.

2.13 Completion dates are given for the work packages in accordance with the following:

Q1: April – June 2000

Q2: July – September 2000

Q3: October – December 2000

Q4: January – March 2001

2.14 A list of projects/programmes organised according to subject is attached at Appendix 1.

Oftel 2000/1 draft Management Plan – list of projects and programmes

Projects and programmes are organised according to their objectives.
A Effective competition – benefiting consumers

A1 Competition in mobile markets

A2 Local loop unbundling

A3 Access to Radio spectrum

A4 Access to broadband networks

A5 Carrier pre-selection implementation

A6 Directory Enquiries

A7 Service Providers – access to networks

A8 Competition in broadcasting markets

A9 Internet and e-commerce

A10 Network interoperability

A11 Better info. for investors.

B Well informed consumers

B1 Raising customer awareness

B2 Research into consumer views

B3 Comparable Performance indicators

B4 Price Comparisons

B5 Small Business Task force

B6 Large Business User Panel

B7 Welsh language scheme

C Adequately protected consumers

C1 Price control review

C2 Universal service

C3 Consumer representation

C4 Terms in telecoms contracts

C5 Metering and billing

C6 Essential requirements

C7 Advisory Committees on Telecommunications

C8 Learning society access

C9 Data Protection

C10 Electronic commerce legislation

C11 Premium rate services

C12 Calling Line Identification

C13 Dispute resolution procedure

C14 New Numbering Administration

C15 Numbering programme

D Prevention of anti-competitive practice

D1 Complaint casework

D2 Quality assurance

D3 Compliance monitoring unit

D4 Industry compliance

D5 International controls programme

D6 Mergers programme

D7 Compliance policy issues

D8 Competition Act implementation

D9 Financial information systems

D10 ADSL roll-out

D11 Leased lines project

D12 Competition Act – licence modifications

E Overall framework of regulation

E1 Telecoms Act reform

E2 Encouraging self-regulation and co-regulation

E3 Stakeholder relationships

E4 Oftel Strategy

E5 EU Review

E6 Influencing international thinking

E7 Twinning with Poland

E8 Licensing

E9 Utilities Bill

E10 Telecommunications Consumer Council

E11 Telecommunications Authority

E12 Better info. for Oftel

F Business Support

F1 Personnel Policy and Civil Service Reform

F2 Training and Development

F3 Budget Management

F4 Knowledge Management

F5 Electronic Records Management

F6 IS and IT

 


Programme and project summaries

A. Effective competition – benefiting consumers

A1 Competition in mobile markets

Project Manager: Elaine Axby
Other contact: Paul James

Objective: To develop and implement appropriate policies to achieve effective competition in mobile markets.

  • Publish condoc or guidelines in respect of access to mobile networks for value-added services as appropriate (Q1)
  • Ensure that indirect access is implemented and intervene to determine prices if necessary (Q1 & Q2)
  • Review outcome of competition case and BT accounting separation arrangements to check if further work is needed in respect of mobile operators’ accounts (Q1 & Q2)
  • Monitor market and technology developments; liaise with consumer groups and industry on an on-going basis to assess competitive developments and benefits being delivered to consumers (Q1 – Q4)
  • Prepare condoc to review the effectiveness of competition in the mobile market (Q3 & Q4)

A2 Local loop unbundling

Project Manager: Jim Niblett
Other contact: Ilsa Godlovitch

Objective: Full implementation of published Oftel policy on local loop unbundling

  • Consultation on proposed BT licence amendment (Q1)
  • Agreement on spectrum management plan and specification of operational processes (Q1)
  • Determination, with external consultants, of pricing of access to the local loop and of the timetable for its implementation (Q3)
  • Customer trials to test operational processes for the provision of unbundled local loops (Q4)
  • Monitor implementation of local loop unbundling internationally (Q1 – Q4)

A3 Access to the Radio Spectrum

Project Manager: Heather Clayton
Other contact: Paul James

Objective: Work with the Radiocommunications Agency (RA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to ensure that allocations of spectrum promote effective competition; reflect the needs of the telecommunications industry and users; and promote economically efficient use of spectrum.

  • Broadband Radio Access: to work on an inter-Departmental group on the allocation of spectrum for this service, in particular, representing Oftel’s position on the competition issues and ensuring that available spectrum is used as efficiently as possible (Q1 – Q3)
  • Narrowband Radio Fixed Access: to work on an inter-Departmental group on the allocation of spectrum for this service, in particular, representing Oftel’s position on the competition issues and ensuring that available spectrum is used as efficiently as possible (Q1 & Q2)
  • Fixed links: work with the RA on the review of the fixed link radio spectrum and explore alternative methods of managing spectrum to ensure the promotion of competition and continued availability of fixed links for the development/delivery of new services (Q1 onwards)
  • TETRA spectrum: Contribute to the RA’s review of TETRA spectrum (Q1 onwards)

A4 Access to Broad Band Networks

Project Manager: Jim Niblett
Other contact: Ian Moss

Objective: To identify the circumstances under which it is appropriate to require operators of broadband networks to grant a right of access to third party service providers; and to establish whether those circumstances apply at present

  • To consult on whether service providers should have a right of access to broadband networks (Q1)
  • Issue a policy statement on Broadband Access (Q2)

A5 Carrier pre-selection (CPS) implementation

Project Manager: Chris Taylor
Other contact: Nic Green

Objective: To ensure that CPS is implemented in the UK as required by the EU Numbering Directive. Implementation is to be in two stages – an interim procedure to be followed by a permanent solution.

  • Determination of charges for permanent CPS (Q1 – Q2)
  • Together with industry, resolution of issues related to the launch of permanent CPS (Q1 – Q4)
  • Together with industry, ensure smooth launch of permanent CPS including transition from interim to permanent CPS (Q4)

A6 Directory Enquiries

Project manager: Nigel Humberston
Other contact: Ray Thornton

Objective: to protect customers in the use of their directory information and to facilitate competition in the provision of directory services.

  • Develop Code of Practice on the use of directory information with the Data Protection Commissioner (Q1)
  • Commission cost benefit analysis (CBA) on Directory Enquiries access codes and consider findings as part of review of access codes (Q1)
  • Formulate policy on access codes following the CBA (Q2)

A7 Service Providers – Access to networks

Project Manager: Michael Richardson
Other contact: Jenine Hulsmann

Objective: Monitor service provider access to, or use of, third party network infrastructure, and determine the extent to which competition in the relevant markets is delivering Oftel’s overall objectives of securing choice, quality and value for money for the consumer.

  • Review strategy concerning access to mobile networks for providers of value-added services, including location-specific information services and Internet services (Q2)
  • Publish guidance on Oftel’s strategic approach to service provider access to and use of third party networks (Q3)

A8 Competition in broadcasting markets

Project Manager: Jim Niblett
Other contact: Ian Moss

Objective: In co-operation with other members of the Group of Three (ITC, OFT and Oftel) to develop regulatory policy and consider compliance aspects in relation to Oftel’s statutory responsibilities in respect of broadcasting and related markets in a way which promotes coherent economic regulation.

  • Keep under review published guidelines on the regulation of conditional access, access control and electronic programme guides (Q1 – Q4)
  • Carry out a market segment review of interactive broadcasting (access control) (Q2 & Q3)
  • In co-operation with the ITC follow-up the initial report to DCMS on barriers to take up of digital TV. Final report (Q2) and consultation on any consequential licence amendments (Q3)

A9 Internet and e-commerce

Project Manager: Dave Simpson
Other contact: Penny Hierons

Objective: To identify and monitor emerging issues arising from developments in the Internet industry and assess their regulatory and compliance implications.

  • Co-operate with OFT to reach fulfilment of the Performance and Innovation Unit remit to report on competition barriers to e-commerce (Q1)
  • To co-ordinate Oftel’s e-commerce strategy with the e-envoy Office and the Cabinet Office, drawing on advice from a range of external consultants (Q1 – Q4)
  • To liaise with consumer bodies and the industry to identify any problem areas and to encourage competition in Internet access in terms of customer choice and functionality while ensuring that developments are not anti-competitive. (Q1 – Q4)
  • To ensure that the UK regulatory framework is appropriate to encourage further the development of the Internet (Q1 – Q4)
  • Carry out a market segment review of access to the Internet (Q3 & Q4)

A10 Network Interoperability

Project Manager: Malcolm Davies
Other contact: Bill Hawkins

Objective: To implement policy on interoperability at network and customer interfaces, on the basis of co-regulation with the industry through the Network Interoperability Consultative Committee (NICC). To facilitate and support the harmonisation of UK interface and interconnection standards and to support the work of various focus groups including the Operators Policy Forum.

  • To provide ongoing support and regulatory advice to the industry to ensure the satisfactory resolution of interoperability issues(Q1 – Q4)
  • To hold quarterly meetings with the NICC and to ensure that their work programme outputs are consistent with Oftel’s policy framework and strategy (Q1 – Q4).
  • To continue to support the Government Telephone Priority Service initiative which ensure priority id given to the emergency services in case of network problems (Q1 – Q4)
  • To participate in the National Steering Committee for Public Warning and Information and its associated new technology sub-group, monitoring technical developments and advising on regulatory issues (Q1 – Q4)
  • To host the NICC annual open forum (Q3)

A11 Providing and facilitating the provision of better information for suppliers and investors

Project Manager: Kenny Osborne
Other contact: Nick Collins

Objective: To manage the collection of accurate and timely information from telecoms operators and service providers on an agreed range of services, in order to meet the need for market information from within Oftel and from customers and suppliers of telecommunications services.

  • Publish summary information in the quarterly Market Information Update and produce a detailed annual publication for 1999/2000 in Q3 (Q1 – Q4)
  • Work with telecoms operators to identify opportunities for collecting market data more efficiently so as to improve the timeliness of the quarterly publications (Q2)
  • Review the content of the market information proformas to ensure they continue to collect the most appropriate and relevant information (Q3).

B. Well informed consumers

B1 Raising customer awareness

Project manager: Chris Rowsell
Other contact: Rosalind Stevens-Strohmann

Objective: To identify existing customer rights and opportunities, research customer awareness of these, and raise awareness using the media and other channels.

  • Research into public awareness of consumer rights and opportunities (Q1 – Q4)
  • Publish initial research into consumer awareness of the above (Q1)
  • Launch media initiatives to raise customer awareness of rights and opportunities (Q1 – Q4).  Publicise issue of premium rate call-barring (Q1)
  • Development of price-quality trade-off methodology to assess the links between effective competition, rational consumer behaviour and information for consumers (Q1 – Q2)
  • Publish Oftel consumer Guide (Q2)

B2 Research into consumer views

Project Manager: Karen Metcalfe
Other contact: Geoff Delamere

Objective: To provide regular and more comprehensive information on residential and business consumer behaviour, opinion, and use of telecoms to assist Oftel in better informed policy and decision making.

  • Conduct continuous, quarterly rolling, omnibus surveys (carried out by an external agency but analysed by Oftel) amongst UK residential and business consumers (Q1 – Q4)
  • Consult project and programme managers to ensure the surveys cover a range of topics as required by projects across Oftel (Q1 – Q4)
  • Provide quarterly and annual reporting of results to publish on Oftel website.
  • Provide summary reports to project managers (as required) on their individual topic areas (Q1 – Q4)
  • Encourage greater transparency by industry in the provision of consumer information (Q1 – Q4)
  • Review demand for and use of consumer information in policy and decision making, and rationalise surveys accordingly (Q4)

B3 Comparable Performance Indicators (CPI’s)

Project Manager: Chris Rowsell
Other contact: Geoff Delamere

Objective: To ensure the availability of comparable quality of service information to consumers for both the mobile and fixed telephony markets, by encouraging and facilitating its collection and dissemination by the industry.

  • Encourage industry to issue intermediate improved CPI booklets and website for the fixed link market (Q1)
  • Hold a conference to encourage non-participating operators to report in CPIs (Q1)
  • Encourage industry to issue further improved CPI booklets and website (Q3)
  • Encourage publication of mobile quality of service with regional breakdowns for the periods October 1999 – March 2000 and April – September 2000 (Q1 & Q3)

B4 Price Comparisons

Project Manager: Geoff Delamere
Other Contact: Shairon Hill

Objective: To improve the transparency of telecoms prices to consumers. To move from a co-regulatory approach towards a self-regulatory approach to achieving effective information for consumers to help them choose.

  • Facilitate the industry developing its residential price comparison website (phonebills.org.uk) into a regularly updated publication including a broader range of telecoms suppliers and customer call profiles (Q1 – Q4)
  • Increase industry acceptance of responsibility for further development of phone bill comparisons in a way that meets consumer requirements (Q2 – Q4)
  • Encourage development by commercial third parties of telecoms price comparisons for groups of consumers who require them through enabling access to relevant tariff information (Q3)

B5 Small Business Task force

Project Manager: Geoff Delamere
Other contact: Shairon Hill

Objective: To encourage well informed small business purchasers of telecoms services to obtain the benefits of competition in telecoms.

  • Encourage the setting up of independent internet site to provide telecoms advice (Q1)
  • Convene regular meetings of the Small Business Task Force and working groups to identify and develop improves information sources for small businesses (Q1 & Q3)
  • Assess progress, through surveys, of small businesses becoming more expert telecoms purchasers. Review results and determine what further action is needed, if any (Q4)

B6 Large Business User Panel

Project Manager: Alan Pridmore
Other contact: Elizabeth Greenberg

Objective: To promote awareness in large organisations of the opportunities now available in the competitive marketplace and to expose Oftel’s policy makers and telecom companies to the concerns of large telecoms users.

  • Hold quarterly meetings of the Large Business User Panel (Q1 – Q4)
  • Develop web pages to encourage information sharing (Q1)
  • Review focus and role of Panel ensuring consistency with Oftel’s Strategy (Q3)

B7 Welsh language scheme

Project Manager: Terry Walker
Other contact: Flora Pieris

Objective: Consultation concluded and an Oftel Welsh Language Scheme agreed by the Welsh Language Board.

  • Oftel Welsh language scheme to be agreed by Welsh Language Board (Q2)
  • Arrangements for effective monitoring and reporting on scheme in place to ensure input to Oftel 2000 Annual report (Q3)
  • Scheme to be implemented to agreed timetable (Q4)

C. Adequately protected consumers

C1 Price control review

Project Manager: Peter Culham
Other contact: Chris Taylor

Objective: To protect consumers where competition is not yet effective or in prospect through the implementation, where appropriate, of revised price controls for retail and network services from 2001.

  • Continue the market segment review of fixed price control services (Q1 – Q2)
  • Consider the options for alternative forms of price control, drawing on advice from a range of external consultants (Q1 – Q2)
  • Publication of third consultation document on price and charge control proposals (Q2)
  • Update of BT Efficiency Study (Q2 – Q3)
  • Publication of Final Statement and Licence Modifications for any new price and charge control arrangements (Q3)
  • Agree licence modifications or reference to the Competition Commission (Q4)

C2 Universal service

Project Manager: Alan Pridmore
Other contact: Rosalind Stevens-Strohmann

Objective: To ensure that those telecoms services which are used by the majority and which are essential to full social and economic inclusion are made available to everybody upon reasonable request in an appropriate fashion and at an affordable price.

  • Publish Statement/Consultation Document on the responses the 1999 consultation (Q1)
  • Ensure that improvements to access for disabled people to telecommunication services required of fixed-line operators are also provided by mobile operators (Q2)
  • Monitor implementation of universal service obligations by operators (Q1 – Q4)
  • To achieve a wider public knowledge of on-going activities and initiatives undertaken to improve access to telecommunications for disabled people (Q1 – Q4)

C3 Consumer representation section.

Project Manager: Bernice Head
Other contact: Alistair Cox

Objective: To handle complaints in a timely and efficient manner and to achieve a reduction in the number of complaints received in Oftel by encouraging the industry to deal with them in the first instance.

  • Encourage the removal by PTO’s of the root causes of frequently experienced consumer problems (Q1 – Q4)
  • Develop the Oftel Internet site to give information useful to consumers to allow them to be effective purchasers. Ensure that frequently asked questions are fully updated so the site can be promoted as the first stop for complaints (Q1 – Q4)
  • Publish summaries of complaints received every six months (Q2 & Q4)

C4 Terms in Telecom Service Contracts

Project Manager: Nicholas Good

Other Contact: Dilbinder Dhillon

Objective: To implement Revised Voice Telephony and Unfair Contract Term Regulations and bring to public’s attention Oftel’s new powers to amend/remove certain undesirable terms in telecom service contracts.

  • Agree basis of concurrent working with the Office of Fair Trading (Q1)
  • Publicly consult on proposals for protecting consumers (Q1)
  • Issue a Guide (either separately or as an entry in Guide being produced as part of Raising Consumer Awareness project) to inform consumers of rights in this area and how Oftel can help (Q2)

C5 Metering and Billing Approval Scheme

Project Manager: Malcolm Davies
Other contact: Phil Cobb

Objective: To extend the scope and range of the meter approval scheme (which ensures that bills are accurate, comprehensive and easily understood) to all licensed telecommunications operators and service providers through, where appropriate, licence changes.

  • Publish guidelines on the extension of the Metering and Billing approval scheme to all PTOs and service providers (Q2)

C6 Essential Requirements

Project Manager: Malcolm Davies
Other contact: Keith Bowman

Objective: To publish guidelines relating to the requirement to ensure the provision and maintenance of essential requirements in the fields of security of network operations and maintenance of network integrity in accordance with the Revised Voice Telephony Directive (RVTD).

  • To publish guidelines on the RVTD requirements (Q1)
  • Establish a co-regulatory procedure with the telecoms operators for compliance with the guidelines (Q1)
  • Implement the co-regulatory procedure (Q2 – Q4)

C7 Advisory Committees on Telecommunications (ACTs) programme

Programme Manager: Terry Walker
Other contact: David Edwards

Objective: To ensure Oftel receives effective advice from the ACTs.

  • High quality advice to Oftel from the ACTs, fairly reflecting consumer interests, in response to regulatory policy consultations affecting telecoms consumers (ongoing).
  • DTI/Oftel preparation for the TCC informed by Secretariat experience and ACT views (ongoing).
  • More effective and consistent approach to complaints handling by territorial ACTs (Q3 & Q4).

C8 Learning society access issues

Project Manager: Neil Buckley
Other contact: Penny Hierons

Objective: To encourage telecommunications companies to offer new and enhanced tariffs for Internet access for schools, public libraries, FE colleges, learning centres and citizens’ advice bureaux.

  • Finalise discussions on the entitlement of learning centres to special tariffs (Q1)
  • Finalise discussions with the telecommunications industry on new and enhanced Internet access tariffs for the defined institutions (Q1 & Q2)
  • Evaluate whether Oftel’s involvement in this area should be brought to a conclusion (Q3)

C9 Data protection in telecoms

Project Manager: Nigel Humberston
Other contact: Neil Buckley

Objective: To ensure that telecoms consumers’ right to privacy are protected through compliance with the requirements of the Telecoms Data Protection Directive.

  • Formal monitoring of the telephone and fax opt-out schemes on a quarterly basis and on-going informal monitoring (Q1 – Q4)
  • Liaison with DTI on any changes to the service provided and to proposed charging structures (Q1 & Q2).
  • Advice to the Data Protection Commissioner on technical and interpretation issues (Q1 – Q4)
  • To co-operate with the DTI and the Home Office in the transposition of the ‘Confidentiality of communications’ article of the TDPD and propose suitable amendments to the SPL/TSL class licences (Q2)

C10 Electronic commerce legislation

Project Manager: Peter Davies
Other contact: Ritu Manhas

Objective: To advise and co-ordinate Oftel’s response to the e-commerce related legislation, both domestic and EU.

  • Work with DTI on electronic commerce Bill as it goes through Parliament to prepare for any possible regulatory role for Oftel’s in relation to electronic signature services. (Q1 & Q2)
  • Work with DTI on the implementation of the electronic signatures Directive (Q2)
  • Work with the DTI on the implementation of the e-commerce Directive (Q3 & Q4)

C11 Regulation of Premium Rate Services (PRS) through the Independent Committee for the Supervision and Standards of Telephone Services (ICSTIS)

Project Manager: Warwick Izzard
Other contact: Gavin Daykin

Objective: To ensure that consumers are adequately protected through co-regulation with ICSTIS and industry self-regulatory initiatives for Premium Rate Services.

  • To review proposals to widen the range of services that fall within ICSTIS supervisory control (by modification of the relevant licence condition) in consultation with interested parties (Q1)
  • Produce a statement on the future regulation of PRS and implement (Q2 – Q4)
  • Improve the effectiveness of services for barring access to PRS primarily through increasing consumer awareness of their value and availability (Q1 – Q4)

C12 Calling line identification (CLI)

Project Manager: Frank Phillips
Other contact: Phil Cobb

Objective: To ensure that the regulatory framework applied to CLI services adequately maintains customers’ privacy and data protection rights while sustaining the continuing commercial development of these services.

  • Promote the development of a Code of Practice for Service Providers which will give them access to ‘raw’ CLI information while safeguarding customers’ privacy rights (Q1)
  • Encourage the availability of cross-border transfer of CLI information within Europe by promoting the adoption of the ETP’s European CLI Guidelines by appropriate regulatory authorities (Q2)
  • Develop a legal framework to require the carriage of ‘raw’ CLI by network operators (Q3)
  • Monitor network operators’ provision of ‘type 3’ presentation numbers (which enables large private network operators to present alternative numbers for CLI purposes) to appropriate customers (Q1 – Q4)
  • Advise the Data Protection Commissioner on her enforcement of the CLI provisions of the Telecommunications Data Protection Directive (97/66/EC) (Q1 – Q4)

C13 Dispute resolution procedure

Project Manager: John Gallen
Other contact: Nicholas Good

Objective: To ensure that the Director General complies with his duties under the Revised Voice Telephony Directive by ensuring that operators and service providers have dispute resolution procedures in place that are fair, transparent, easily accessible and transparent.

  • Develop a dispute resolution procedure in consultation with stakeholders (Q1)
  • Establish a dispute resolution committee (Q1)
  • Monitor the work of the dispute resolution committee (Q1 – Q4)

C14 New arrangements for numbering administration

Project Manager: Alan Pridmore
Other contact: Mark Whitbread

Objective: To promote the efficient management of numbers by Operators through number charging; and to optimise transparency and customer choice in numbers through the introduction of individual number allocations.

  • Assess action needed because of responses to Q4 1999/2000 consultation document / statement on individual number allocation and charging (Q1 onwards)
  • Input on necessary legislative and possible licensing process for introducing and operating the charging and individual number allocation structure (Q1 onwards)
  • Continue appraisal of possible implementation methods, including those for auctioning highly coveted numbers and for developing a selection process for identifying coveted numbers (Q1 onwards)

C15 Numbering programme

Programme Manager: Ray Thornton
Other contact: Warwick Izzard/Geoff Morgan

Objective: To ensure the provision of adequate numbers and numbering ranges for all publicly available telecommunications services and to ensure that consumers receive the full benefits of number portability.

  • Overseeing the National Code and Number Change project being managed by the telecoms industry (Q1)
  • Produce updated Portability Functional Specification (Q1)
  • Implement new structure for Access Codes (Q2)
  • Allocate numbers to telcos in accordance with agreed policy (Q1 – Q4)

D. Prevention of anti-competitive practice

D1 Complaint Casework Programme

Programme manager: John Kemp
Other contacts: Don Wilson, Alistair Bridge, Maeve Gallagher

Objective: To pro-actively manage all complaints casework and to resolve all cases in the minimum possible time. Complaint cases include, Investigations of complaints, Own initiative cases, Competition Act cases (including Guidance cases), Interconnection disputes and Determinations. (This programme includes complaints relating to the Internet, ADSL and broadband issues in general)

  • To seek to continually improve the performance against targets of casework being processed. This will be done by quality monitoring of case progress (Q1 – Q4)
  • To reduce the number of complaints being pursued as a licence breach by considering complaints under the Competition Act where practical (Q1 – Q4)
  • To assess the type of complaints being received to determine what deficiencies exist in the information provided. Feed back any major lessons learnt to the complainant and where possible to the Web Site (Q3 & Q4)

D2 Quality Assurance Programme

Programme Manager: Mohinder Mahi
Other Contact: Peter Silverman

Objective: To develop and operate a robust framework which enables compliance casework to be conducted and monitored in an open, transparent and consistent manner.

  • Revise casework procedures in the light of the experience gained from conducting Competition Act cases (Q1 – Q2)
  • Operate an output based casework quality monitoring system (Q1 – Q4)
  • Assess the quality of all casework with a view to drawing lessons and spreading best practice within the Compliance Directorate (Q1 – Q4)

D3 Compliance Monitoring Unit Programme

Programme Manager: Keith Loader
Other Contact: Chris Handley

Objective: To co-ordinate information requests to industry in support of casework in the compliance phase, obligations under licences, tariff notifications and interconnection notifications.

  • To assess the information received in support of casework in the compliance phase and recommend actions to conclude the case where possible. (Q1 – Q4).
  • To progressively relax controls on BT’s and other operator’s tariffs, wholesale and retail, when competition allows and to limit the circumstances where the Director General’s intervention is required for consents, determinations, directions etc to those where it is essential. (Q1 – Q4)
  • To recommend areas currently being monitored for self regulation by the industry (Q4)

D4 Industry Compliance Programme

Project Manager: Maeve Gallagher
Other contact: Tim Cross

Objective: To encourage a culture of compliance and self-regulation within industry that will ultimately lead to lighter regulation. The initial objective is to move from compliance with licence conditions to compliance with the Competition Act.

  • To communicate to industry the Oftel requirements for a full and complete complaint case and to feedback performances of cases (Q1 – Q4)
  • Update guidance to industry on submitting complaints with a formal update (Q2)

D5 International Controls Programme

Programme Manager: Vince Affleck
Other contacts: Beverley Blakeney

Objective: To withdraw from detailed regulation as the international market becomes progressively competitive. To prevent anti-competitive practices using general competition law whenever appropriate.

  • To review international requirements in PTO and ISVR licences with a view to withdrawing from areas where competition is effective (Q1 & Q2)
  • To investigate anti-competitive behaviour using the Competition Act whenever possible (Q1 – Q4)

D6 Mergers Programme

Programme manager: Don Wilson
Other Contact: John Naughten

Objective: To ensure timely advice is provided on mergers, joint ventures and acquisitions where the outcome of the proposed action may cause anti-competitive concerns.

  • To provide advice on those mergers, joint ventures and acquisitions that give rise to telecoms concerns in timely manner (Q1 – Q4)
  • To process casework relating to mergers, joint ventures and acquisitions in line with existing casework procedures and targets (Q1 – Q4)

D7 Compliance Policy Issues

Programme Manager: Trevor Wood
Other Contact: Alistair Bridge

Objective: To ensure effective laision with the Regulatory Policy Directorate.

  • To set up a framework to ensure liaison with other parts of Oftel (eg Regulatory Policy, Numbering Unit) operates smoothly. Issue report on effectiveness every three months (Q1 – Q4)
  • To make the Compliance Policy Group an effective forum to discuss policy issues arising from Compliance work. Monthly meetings to be held (Q1 – Q4)

D8 Competition Act implementation

Project manager: Alistair Bridge
Other contact: Trevor Wood

Objective: To ensure that Oftel’s approach to casework reflects developments in regulatory and competition policy in the UK and EC and that the Compliance Directorate contributes effectively to the development of regulatory and competition policy in the UK and EC.

  • Deal with policy issues arising from the operation of the Competition Act (Q1 – Q4)
  • Contribute to the work of the Concurrency Working Party, a body consisting of representatives of the OFT and the regulators with concurrent powers under the Competition Act (Q1 – Q4)
  • Liaise with other government departments and the Commission (Q1 – Q4)

D9 Financial information systems programme

Project Manager: Gavin Greenfield
Other contact: Dave Robinson

Objective: To facilitate Oftel in requesting appropriate, accurate and timely information, derived from financial and management systems of operators designated as having significant market power, market influence or equivalent, of sufficient quality and quantity to address and deal effectively with competition and regulatory issues.

  • Review the appropriateness and effectiveness of financial reporting requirements as set out in operators’ licences (Q1)
  • Monitor and evaluate compliance with regulatory financial reporting requirements as set out in operators’ licences (Q1 – Q4)
  • Assess and examine the processes, systems and procedures used by operators in preparing and delivering financial information requested by Oftel as part of regulatory requirements or competition investigations (Q1 – Q4)
  • Promote and review developments and enhancements to the accounting methodologies used by operators in the above context (Q1 – Q4)

D10 ADSL Roll-out Project

Project manager: Alistair Bridge
Other contact: John Russell

Objective: To ensure that the provision of Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) products by BT does not breach regulatory provisions, and to ensure that the products are provided in a way that allows other operators to compete effectively with BT’s own service provision business.

  • Monitor of BT’s trial (Q1)
  • Monitor of the pricing of BT’s wholesale products and retail products (Q1 – Q4)
  • Monitor of BT’s systems for handling orders and delivering products (Q1 – Q4)
  • Keep abreast of ADSL developments internationally (Q1 – Q4)

D11 Leased Lines Project

Project Manager: Trevor Wood
Other contact: Tim Cross

Objective: To conduct an in depth investigation of the cost of leased lines and to examine whether BT’s pricing of leased lines, particularly ‘last mile’ circuits is restricting competition in the supply of leased lines and associated products. In the light of this, to review Oftel’s policies on leased line pricing and price control mechanisms.

  • Develop a cost model of leased line circuits in conjunction with the appointed consultants (Q1)
  • Carry out a market segment review of leased lines (Q3)
  • Issue a consultation document (Q2)
  • Deliver a revised or confirmed policy position (Q3)

D12 Competition Act Licence modification project

Project manager: Don Wilson
Other Contact: Alistair Bridge

Objective: To identify any licence conditions that can be removed with the introduction of the Competition Act.

  • To assess all PTO licences for areas that the Competition Act now covers (Q2)
  • To modify all PTO licences to remove double coverage with the Competition Act (Q2 – Q4)

E. Framework projects

E1 Reform of the Telecommunications Act

Project Manager: Neil Buckley
Other contact: Nigel Humberston

Objective: To work with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department for Culture Media and Sport on proposals to update and reform the Telecommunications Act 1984 and the Broadcasting Act to enable the development of a competitive market for converging services with appropriate consumer protection.

  • Input to Government White Paper on the objectives for legislative reform, ensuring consistency with Oftel’s Strategy and the outcome of the EU 1999 Review

(Q1 & Q2)

  • Contribute to the development of a Communications Bill (Q3 & Q4)

E2 Encouraging self-regulation and co-regulation

Project Manager: Geoff Delamere
Other contact: Shairon Hill

Objective: To encourage telecoms stakeholders to adopt suitable opportunities for self-regulation and co-regulation.

  • Identify, analyse and highlight current instances of self-regulation and co-regulation (Q1)
  • Facilitate the development of further moves, in appropriate cases, towards greater self-regulation and co-regulation (Q2 – Q4)
  • Encourage learning from ‘good practice’ models of self-regulation and co-regulation in telecoms sectors in other countries and other industries (Q3 – Q4)

E3 Stakeholder relationships

Project Manager: Chris Taylor
Other contact: Nic Green

Objective: To evaluate the existing relationships between Oftel and its stakeholders (ie consumers, operators, service providers), to identify and implement improvements and to promote self-regulatory and co-regulatory initiatives.

  • Ongoing consultation on stakeholder relationships (Q1)
  • Publication of conclusions and action plan for managing stakeholder relationships (Q2)

E4 Oftel Strategy development and implementation

Project Manager: Geoff Delamere
Other contact: Orla Corrigan

Objective: To ensure Oftel implements its Strategy through the 2000/1 Management Plan and to measure its success through international benchmarking and co-ordination of market segment reviews

  • Issue 2000/1 Management Plan (Q1)
  • Identify and publicise moves to lighter regulation as the market develops (Q2)
  • Carry out a mid-term review of the Management Plan, including a measure of the extent to which outcome based objectives are achieved (Q3)
  • Co-ordinate international benchmarking exercises with market segment reviews and reporting of outputs under Government’s Service Delivery Agreements (Q1 – Q4)

E5 EU Review of Communications

Project manager: Jim Niblett
Other contact: Matthew Conway

Objective: Achievement of a European regulatory regime based on appropriate regulation which best serves the interests of UK telecoms consumers and telecoms industry.

  • Advice to DTI on a UK negotiating position in the light of the Commission’s proposals for legislation (Q2 – Q4)
  • To play a full part in negotiations alongside government representatives (Q2 – Q4)
  • In co-operation with government departments and other regulatory agencies, to seek to influence key players in the Commission, European Parliament and other members states of the merits of the UK view (Q2 – Q4)

E6 Influencing international thinking

Project Manager: Matthew Conway
Other contact: Joanna Wifalk, Chris Woolford

Objective: To apply the experience gained from regulating the UK telecoms market to the developing international and European policy frameworks.

  • Continue to develop relations with other administrations, the Independent Regulators’ Group (meetings Q1 and Q3) and European Conference of Telecommunications Regulatory Affairs (meetings Q1 and Q3) to help improve mutual understanding and to exchange best practice on implementation of current policy.
  • Provide relevant input into the UK’s position for the Seattle Round of WTO and GATS negotiations where these affect the telecoms sector (Q1 – Q4)
  • Maintain and enhance the awareness within Oftel and key stakeholders of the international agenda, and continue to improve Oftel’s effectiveness in influencing it (Q1 – Q4)

E7 Twinning with Poland

Project Manager: Chris Woolford
Other contact: Matthew Conway

Objective: To bring Poland’s legislative framework and institutional arrangements into line with EC Directives so that Poland is ready to join the European Union from 1 January 2003. Oftel is working with the Radiocommunications Agency (RA) and PTS (the Swedish NRA) on this EU funded project.

  • Prepare an agreement which will set out the programme of assistance which Oftel and partner organisations will provide to the Polish Government (Q1)
  • Agree the agreement with the European Commission and Polish Government (Q1)
  • Carry out the programme of assistance as defined in the agreement (Q2 – Q4)

E8 Licensing

Project Manager: Peter Davies
Other contact: Ritu Manhas

Objective: To facilitate the simplification of the licence granting and modification processes, in particular by the replacement of individual licences with class licences.

  • Co-ordinate debate on the future funding of Oftel in accordance with the Licensing Directive (Q1 – Q2)
  • Establish and implement a new system in Oftel for licence modifications (Q1 – Q2)
  • Co-ordinate licence modification proposals across Oftel (Q1 – Q4)

E9 Utilities Bill

Project Manager: Nigel Humberston
Other contact: Neil Buckley

Objective: To ensure that Utilities Bill enables the continued development of a competitive telecoms market with appropriate levels of consumer protection.

  • Comment on DTI’s draft policy and legal instructions (Q1)
  • Liaise with other regulatory offices (Q1 – Q4)
  • Provide assistance to DTI as the Bill proceeds through Parliamentary stages (Q1 – Q4)

E10 Utilities Bill – Preparations for Telecoms Consumer Council (TCC)

Project Manager: Chris Rowsell
Other contact: Nigel Humberston

Objective: To encourage the development of a TCC which recognises the benefits of effective competition to consumers and is willing to co-operate with the industry in co-regulatory and self-regulatory initiatives, and to establish satisfactory arrangements for consultation and co-operation between the TCC and Oftel.

  • Publish condoc on licence modifications (Q1)
  • Negotiate a memorandum of understanding between Oftel and the TCC and ensure the transfer of certain functions to the TCC (Q1 – Q3)
  • Establish the interface between Oftel and the TCC (Q4)

E 11 Utilities Bill – Preparations for the new Telecommunications Authority

Project Manager: David Smith
Other Contact: Anne Lambert

Objective: To ensure that the new Telecommunications Authority is ready in good time to take on the functions transferred to the Authority from the Director General of Telecommunications.

Subject to the final provisions of the Act:

  • Take forward all the work/issues concerned with setting up the new Authority (Q1 – Q4)
  • Make the changes to Oftel’s decision-taking and operating procedures that will be required following the abolition of the office of Director General of Telecommunications (Q4)

E12 Providing better information for use by Oftel in policy development and compliance

Project Manager: Justin Silvertown
Other contact: Caroline Lawson

Objective: To monitor key developments in telecoms and related markets and to analyse their impact on Oftel’s work. To disseminate these findings enabling Oftel to effectively adapt its role accordingly.

  • Deliver regular presentations on key players strategy (Q1 – Q4)
  • To build contacts with key market participants (companies, analysts etc) to assist in understanding their strategies and possible regulatory impact (Q1 – Q4)
  • On-line company databases – continue to develop and keep under review mechanisms to ensure company/market information is readily available to all staff in Oftel (Q1 – Q4)
  • Prepare a regular newsletter detailing market developments that have relevance to Oftel’s day to day work (Q1 – Q4)

F. Internal projects and programmes – helping Oftel to operate efficiently and effectively

F1 Personnel Policy and Civil Service Reform Programme

Programme Manager: Ros Badger
Other contact: Gill Loader

Objective: To create a more open, diverse and professional department by delivering an efficient and responsive HR service and ensuring that Oftel recruits, retains, develops and rewards high quality and able staff. The core work programme is aimed at providing a high quality service to Oftel staff each day.

  • Drive forward the new agenda of Civil Service reform on the basis of the key themes set out in Sir Richard Wilson’s report to the Prime Minister (Q1 – Q4 and beyond)
  • Annual pay negotiations, taking account of proposals arising from the recent pay and banding review (Q2). Production of ‘user friendly guide’ to the pay system (Q2)
  • Proactively monitor sick absence to continue in accordance with a target to reduce the average number of days lost from 6.5 in 1998 to 4.7 in 2001 (Q1 – Q4)
  • Conduct a third staff attitude survey (Q3)

F2 Training and Development Programme

Programme Manager: Carol Coyne
Other contact: Hugh Robertson

Objective: To ensure that Oftel continues to meet the Investors in People (IiP) standard by providing quality, business driven, customer focused training and development opportunities accessible to every member of Oftel staff.

  • Design, deliver and evaluate a portfolio of in-house training events in a way which ensures Oftel successfully meets the IiP standard when reassessed (Q1 – Q4)
  • Expand the range of in-house management training so that Development & Reporting Managers and Project Managers are equipped to meet the expectations laid out in the Civil Service Reform Report (Q2)
  • Investigate the cost/benefit to Oftel of participating in Business Excellence Model benchmarking. (Q2).

 

F3 Budget Management Programme

Programme Manager: Paul Heseltine
Other contact: Walton Edwards

Objective: To provide an effective finance and accounting service to the department.

  • Implement the budget management programme for 2000/01 through the introduction and maintenance of a new resource accounting system, to the deadlines set, with improved financial information being made available to budget managers (Q1 – Q4)
  • Ensure that Oftel continues to adhere to the Prompt Payment Code (Q1 – Q4)

F4 Knowledge Management

Project Manager: Duncan Stroud
Other contact: Anne Cameron

Objective: To ensure that Oftel staff can access and share the information necessary for their day to day work across the whole organisation and to provide the best possible website for access by industry and the public.

  • Review of the Oftel Internet website with a view engaging external experts to undertake a major redesign of its structure and presentation (Q1)
  • Ensure that Oftel’s Intranet meets the needs of staff to access and share information across the whole organisation. If necessary engage external to redesign its structure and presentation (Q4)

F5 Electronic Records Management

Project Manager: Duncan Stroud
Other Contact: Rachel Reeve

Objective: To assist Oftel in becoming an effective learning organisation by improving access to and organisation of information using available new technology and to improve public access to the Public Register.

  • Audit paper and electronic records and continue to ensure compliance with Data Protection Act (Q1 – Q2)
  • Introduce Oftel-wide files database (Q1)
  • Engage external experts to develop procedures for and advise on the procurement of IT tools for the management and control of electronic records collections (Q2)
  • Provide an electronic Public Register of licenses and related documents (Q4)

F6 IS and IT Programme

Programme Manager: Laura Dawson
Other contact: Dave Burke

Objective: To provide Information Technology services which will most effectively support Oftel’s business and staff and meet the wider objectives of the Modernising Government (Information Age Government) programme.

  • Install a centralised Contacts’ Management System for all Oftel (Q1)
  • Develop plans for attaining BS7799 (code of practice for information security management) including plans to meet training needs (Q1)
  • Implement the Competition Casework System for the Compliance Directorate (Q1)
  • In conjunction with the Office of Fair Trading, implement the Regulators’ Intranet for Case Notification (Q4)

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Chapter 3

Consultation

3.1 Oftel seeks the views of consumers, consumer organisations, industry and others on the proposals contained in this Consultation Document by 31 March 2000.

Comments should be made in writing and sent to:

Orla Corrigan
Regulatory Policy Directorate
Oftel
50 Ludgate Hill
London, EC4M 7JJ

Tel: 0171-634 8776

Fax: 0171-634 8757
or e-mail to orla.corrigan@oftel.gsi.gov.uk

3.2 Written comments will be made publicly available in Oftel’s Research and Intelligence Unit except where respondents indicate that their responses, or parts of it, are confidential. Respondents are therefore asked to separate out any confidential material into a confidential annex which is clearly identified as containing confidential material. In the interests of transparency, respondents are requested to avoid confidentiality markings wherever possible. Appointments to view written comments in Oftel’s Research and Intelligence Unit, which must be made in advance, can be arranged by ringing: 0171 634 8761 (fax: 0171 634 8946).

Internet Access

3.3 Oftel would like to set up a link between this Consultative Document and any responses placed on respondents own Internet pages. Please contact Lauren Ryner at Oftel on 0171 634 8753 to arrange this. Confidential responses should not be sent via the Internet.

3.4 Oftel has a free e-mail based mailing list to help people stay informed about the work that Oftel is doing. Each time an Oftel document is published and placed on Oftel’s web site subscribers to the list receive an e-mail informing them about the document.

Alternative Formats

3.5 Copies of the full Consultative Document are available on disk. The Summary is available in large print, braille, and tape formats.

3.6 Please contact the Oftel Research and Intelligence Unit on 0171 634 8761, or by e-mail or call textphone 0171 634 8769 for more information.

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Appendix 1

Projects and programmes organised according to subject

Access to infrastructure and other resources

A2 Local loop unbundling

A3 Access to Radio spectrum

A4 Access to broadband networks

A7 Service Providers – Access to networks

Broadcasting

A8 Broadcasting markets competition

Competition casework

D1 Complaint casework

D3 Compliance monitoring unit

D4 Industry compliance

D5 International controls programme

D6 Mergers programme

D9 Financial information systems

D10 ADSL roll-out

D11 Leased lines project

Consumer information

B1 Raising customer awareness

B2 Research into consumer views

B3 Comparable Performance indicators

B4 Price Comparisons

B7 Welsh language scheme

Consumer protection

A6 Directory Enquiries

C1 Price control review

C2 Universal service

C3 Consumer representation

C4 Terms in telecoms contracts

C5 Metering and billing

International

E5 EU Review

E6 Influencing international thinking

E7 Twinning with Poland

Internet and e-commerce

A9 Internet and e-commerce

C8 Learning society access

 

Legislative framework – domestic and EU

E1 Telecoms Act reform

E9 Utilities Bill

E8 Licensing

C9 Data Protection

C10 Electronic commerce legislation

C13 Dispute resolution procedure

D8 Competition Act implementation

D12 Competition Act – licence modifications

E11 Utilities Bill – Preparations for the new Telecommunications Authority

Market information

E12 Better info. for Oftel

A11 Better info. for investors.

Mobile

A1 Competition in mobile markets

Network issues

A10 Network interoperability

Numbering

C14 New Numbering Administration

C15 Numbering programme

Oftel internal admin.

D2 Quality assurance

D7 Compliance policy issues

F1 Personnel Policy and Civil Service Reform

F2 Training and Development

F3 Budget Management

F4 Knowledge Management

F5 Electronic Records Management

F6 IS and IT

Provision of specific services

A5 Carrier pre-selection implementation

C6 Essential requirements

C11 Premium rate services

C12 Calling Line Identification

Stakeholders – (consumers, industry and other regulators)

E2 Self and co-regulation

E3 Stakeholder relationships

E4 Strategy

E10 Telecommunications Consumer Council

B5 Small Business Task force

B6 Large Business User Panel

C7 Advisory Committees on Telecommunications (ACTs)

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Appendix 2

Expenditure Plans 2000-01

A2.1 Oftel’s funding is provided by Parliament and is subject to strict public expenditure controls. However most of its costs are recouped from licence fees paid by the telecommunications operators and from other miscellaneous income.

A2.2 Oftel’s total expenditure in 1998-99 was 11.5 million, which included running costs of 10.5 million. The total forecast expenditure for 1999-2000 is 14 million including 11.7 million running costs. This expenditure included significant restructuring costs.

A2.3 Oftel’s planned running costs expenditure for 2000-2001, as published in March 1999 in the Government Expenditure Plans (CM 4211), were set at 11.3 million.

A2.4 However Oftel’s work programme has increased substantially since these expenditure plans were agreed, and to carry out the full programme of work outlined in this draft Management Plan additional resources will be required. In particular, market developments, the rapid growth of Internet use and services and the coming of new broadband services require increased Oftel effort in policy development in these areas. These new telecoms services are vital to the development of e-commerce and the information society. The importance of Oftel increasing its work and focus in these areas has been recognised by both the Trade and Industry Committee (in its July 1999 report on Electronic Commerce) and by the Cabinet Office PIU report of September 1999 on E-commerce.

A2.5 Subject to the necessary approval by Parliament and the Treasury for the revised spending proposals, Oftel intends to allocate resources in 2000-2001 as follows:

million

Revised spending proposals 2000-01 Increase on previous expenditure estimate
Running Costs

Other current costs

(operating costs of Advisory Committee on Telecommunications; Litigation costs and co-operation with economic regulators overseas)

Capital

Total (gross)

13.0

1.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

0.6

14.8 *

1.6

0.9

 

 

 

 

0.3

2.8 *

* 0.9m of this is directly recoverable from the EU for project E7 Twinning with Poland

Staffing

A2.6 Subject to the above spending proposals being approved, the average number of staff employed in Oftel should increase to some 209 in 2000-01. A total of 194.5 staff (including part-time staff) were employed in Oftel in January 2000

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Glossary

ACTs – Advisory Committees on Telecommunications.

ADSL – Asymmetric digital subscriber loop (ADSL) is a technology that allows the use of a copper line to send a large quantity of data (eg a television picture) in one direction and a small quantity (eg a control channel and a telephone call) in the other.

ATM – Asynchronous Transfer Mode – the internationally agreed basis for broadband ISDN. A technology that enables all types of information (data, voice and video in any combination) to be transported by a single network infrastructure.

Broadband – A service or connection allowing a considerable amount of information to be conveyed, such as television pictures. Generally described as a bandwidth of more than 2Mbit/s.

B7 – a modern signalling system, based on standards set by the CCITT (the former name of the world telecommunications standards-making body), for the transfer of messages between entities in telecommunications networks that enables the setting up, routing and clearing of calls and the transfer of other relevant information related to the operation of these networks. The B7 signalling system is used for the transfer of such messages between different networks as well as within individual networks

Calling Line Identity (CLI) – A facility that enables identification of the number from which a call is being made.

Customer premises equipment (CPE) – Sometimes referred to as customer apparatus or consumer equipment, being equipment on consumers premises which is not part of the public telecommunications network and which is directly or indirectly attached to it.

DfEE – The Department for Education and Employment.

DTI – The Department of Trade and Industry.

ECTRA – European Committee for Telecommunications Regulatory Affairs. ECTRA is the main European forum for the discussion of regulatory issues, set up within the framework of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT).

Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) – software in the receiver which takes data on programmes and displays these in the form of an on-screen guide. The guide displays information about what is on now and next on each channel as well as future programmes. Viewers may also be able to use the on-screen menus to order pay per-view services or to access interactive services.

ICSTIS – Independent Committee for the Supervision and Standards of Telephone Information Services

IP – Internet Protocol – packet data protocol used for routing and carriage of messages across the Internet.

Interoperability – the technical features of a group of interconnected systems (systems includes equipment owned and operated by the customer which is attached to the public telecommunication network) which ensure end-to-end provision of a given service in a consistent and predictable way.

ITC – Independent Television Commission

Narrowband – A service or connection allowing only a limited amount of information to be conveyed, such as for telephony. This compares with broadband, which allows a considerable amount of information to be conveyed.

NTS – Number Translation Services – describes a range of specially tariffed services, primarily used for telemarketing, which include 0500/0800 Freephone, 0345/0645/0845 local call fee access, 0870/0990 national call fee access and 08xx/09xx Premium Rate Services. These services are offered at specific price points in order that customers calling from any fixed network will know that the quoted retail price is the maximum they will be charged for calls to a particular number range.

OFT – Office of Fair Trading

Premium Rate Service (PRS) – Services, including recorded information and live conversation, run by independent service providers. All calls to these companies are charged at a higher rate than ordinary calls to cover the companies’ costs in providing the content of the call and the operator’s cost for the special network facilities needed.

Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) – The telecommunications networks of the major operators, on which calls can be made to all customers of the PSTN.

Public Telecommunications Operator (PTO) – Network operators with powers granted by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under the Telecommunications Act 1984 to enable them to install their systems on public and private land, property etc.

RA – The Radiocommunications Agency

Radio Spectrum – The range of wavelengths used, for example, for broadcasting radio, terrestrial television and satellite television. Usable wavelength ranges from about 100 KHz to about 400 GHz although there are as yet no broadcasts above about 12 GHz.

Universal Service (US) – A provision in some Telecommunications Act licences requiring the licensee to provide certain services to all specified persons. For example, BT is currently required to provide basic voice telephony and certain other established telecommunications services to anyone who may reasonably request them.

Vertical integration – where a single company is active in more than one stage in the production and supply of a good or service eg where a network operator also provides enhanced services which are carried over the network or supplies the consumer equipment needed to access services it provides.


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