Ofcom's Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20
Making communications work for everyone
Ofcom is the UK regulator for the communications services that we use and rely on each day. Our mission is to make communications work for everyone.
UK consumers and businesses depend upon using communications services each and every day. Having reliable and robust communications across the UK has never been more important and is playing a vital role in the UK’s response to the coronavirus.
The work we do benefits consumers and UK businesses to get the best from communications services and ensures that people are able to access services wherever they are in the UK. We ensure consumer fairness and protection from sharp practices and we actively support competition where appropriate to deliver good outcomes.
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Highlights for 2019/20
Click or tap to read more about our work this past year:
Broadband universal service obligation (USO)
Ofcom is responsible for implementing the USO and from March 2020 consumers have been able to request a decent broadband connection.
Investment in full-fibre networks
This year, we set out our proposed regulatory framework to support investment in full-fibre networks (Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review). Current provider plans could see at least 50% full-fibre coverage of the UK within five years.
Shared Rural Network
We provided technical advice to the Government on the mobile network operators' proposals for a ‘shared rural network’ (SRN) which will help propel 4G coverage across the UK.
Shared spectrum access
We confirmed plans to allow shared access in a number of spectrum bands and continued our programme of work to release more spectrum to enable the launch of new mobile services, such as 5G.
Under our Fairness for Customers programme, we published a framework outlining how we will judge whether customers are being treated fairly by telecoms and pay-tv companies.
Last year saw all of the UK's biggest providers make a landmark commitment to put fairness first.
Switching – we’ve made it quicker and easier for customers to leave their current mobile company by switching with a simple text message. We’ve also made it easier to switch broadband provider and get a guaranteed speed.
Broadband, phone and pay-tv firms must now tell you when your contract is coming to an end, and must also tell you about their best available deals.
Small Screen: Big Debate
We published a five-year review of Public Service Broadcasting (2014-18), to provoke a national conversation about how the benefits of PSB might be assured for the future.
Regional production review
We published updated guidance for public sector broadcasting (PSB) around making programmes outside of London, and the criteria that defines a regional production.
Prominence of electronic programme guide (EPG)
We published a statement with revisions to the electronic programme guide (EPG) Code, to ensure the main PSB channels remain easy to find. The revisions are due to come into effect in 2021.
On-demand programme services (ODPS)
We worked with ODPS providers, consumer groups, and the Government around how forthcoming regulations should work to improve the accessibility of ODPS.
Broadcasting Code enforcement
We recorded 82 breaches of the Code, and imposed seven sanctions on broadcasters, including six financial penalties.
Making Sense of Media (MSOM)
We expanded our media literacy activities by launching the MSOM programme. The MSOM network brings together organisations and individuals with expertise in media literacy with a shared goal of improving the online skills, knowledge and understanding of UK adults and children.
We published Online Nation, an annual report which examines how people are served by internet content and services, and attitudes towards being online. Alongside this, we updated our analysis and research on adults’ media use and attitudes.
We published further detailed research examining people’s experiences of online harm. We also looked at how AI could help moderate online content over the next five years going forward.
UK network security and resilience
We are working with DCMS on the legislative process which will give Ofcom new Telecoms Security Requirements (TSR) powers, aimed at improving levels of security within the telecoms sector.
Diversity and Equal Opportunities reports
We published diversity reports for radio and TV. For the first time, we collected data on the socio-economic background of the TV workforce.
We are committed to being a cost-conscious, value for money organisation in discharging our duties. Over the past 15 years, we have continued to deliver year on year, like-for-like real-terms budget reductions.
This section sets out how we are set up to deliver our duties and how we have performed against our strategic objectives set out in our Annual Plan of Work, the consumer impact and the outcomes and next steps we are taking.
This section sets out governance arrangements and the lines of accountability to ensure delivery of our objectives and duties.
This section contains the financial statements, including notes to the accounts, for the year ended 31 March 2020.
Including Section 400; regulatory statements; programmes for investigations, broadcasting complaints, spectrum licensing and enforcement; sustainability data, and; our 700MHz clearance programme.
Section 400 Licence Fees and Penalties Accounts
Details of the fees and payments Ofcom is required to collect under Section 400 of the Communications Act 2003.