Ofcom regulates the accuracy of bills issued by providers of electronic communications services through General Condition of Entitlement 11. The condition requires providers of Publicly Available Telephone Services (PATS) with a relevant annual turnover in excess of 40m to seek and obtain approval of their metering and billing systems from independent third-party assessors (Approval Bodies) against a prescribed standard. This complex of approval arrangements represents the Ofcom Metering and Billing Approval Scheme.
The Ofcom Metering and Billing Direction 2014 sets out the requirements for gaining approval under the condition and is essentially a technical standard intended to ensure compliant systems will deliver accurate bills. Note the Direction itself is from Annex 2.
Approval Bodies approve and audit a CPs metering and billing systems and monitor compliance with the requirements of the Ofcom Metering and Billing Direction. At present, there are three Approval Bodies, these are:
To become an Approval Body, applicants must be accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service to ensure that they meet the international standard EN 45011 to carry out the Metering and Billing Approval Process as defined in the Ofcom Direction.
To ensure equitable treatment of all Communication Providers within the Scheme and a universal interpretation of the Scheme's requirements, all of the current Approval Bodies belong to the Metering and Billing Approval Bodies' Forum (MABABF).
To reflect changes in the communications market and experience of operating the Direction, Ofcom reviewed the Direction through consultations in 2013, February 2014 and May 2014. A statement setting out our conclusions from the review was published in July 2014.