The UK government launched a public consultation on priorities for regulator Ofcom, which includes a proposal to investigate the case for mobile roaming in rural areas to improve access.
Other issues being assessed include coverage obligations for rural areas and the UK’s road network as part of a forthcoming 700MHz spectrum auction; and tackling a so-called “loyalty penalty” where consumers who do not switch providers end up paying more.
A rule to prevent such perceived penalties would fit with legislation being discussed for a number of other industries including utilities and insurance.
One of the ultimate aims outlined in the proposal is to “support investment in reliable, gigabit-capable broadband networks across the country”. This includes examining the cost and benefits of enabling mobile roaming in areas not covered by all four operators, described as “partial not spots”.
The government’s four central targets for Ofcom are: build world-class infrastructure; further the interests of telecoms consumers; ensure secure and resilient telecoms infrastructure; and measures around protecting the universal postal service.
Its Statement of Strategic Priorities consultation covers telecommunications, the management of radio spectrum and post: it ends on 27 March.
Jeremy Wright, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “As well as ensuring the necessary improvements to broadband and mobile services, consumers must also be protected. I urge Ofcom to tackle harmful business practices and remove barriers to switching.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back