Ofcom reshapes amid cost trimming

MUMBAI: For Ofcom, the fiscal ended March 2011 has been very challenging as it had to reshape the organisation amid pressures on public finances. UK‘s media watchdog chalked out plans to save 28 per cent over the four-year period beginning from April 2011.

Said Ofcom chairman Collette Bowe, "Given the scale of the reduction in our budget, we must also cut back our activities in a number of areas. We are required to take on new and additional responsibilities. Our challenge now, which I am determined that Ofcom meets, is to continue to act as vigorously as we always have on behalf of citizens and consumers."

Bowe noted that in the past year Ofcom embarked on a new examination of consumer switching in the telecoms sector, to determine the extent to which the current arrangements promote good consumer and competition outcomes.
"The past year saw new duties placed upon us as a result of the Digital Economy Act, and over the next year what we do is likely to change again. The Public Bodies Bill will, if passed, pave the way for modest but important deregulation in the way we work, including our governance structure. We have also reviewed, reformed and streamlined the role, scope and functions of our advisory committees, allowing us to reduce costs while retaining the necessary focus on people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the needs of older and disabled people."

Ofcom CEO Ed Richards said that while the organisation has secured a wide range of positive outcomes for consumers and citizens in 2010/11 there is still more for it to do.

One of the year‘s more talked about outcomes was in pay TV. From the beginning of the football season viewers were able to watch top-flight football on a wider range of TV platforms and benefit from new TV packages, as a result of Ofcom‘s intervention.

The year saw high-definition services on digital terrestrial TV come of age. Sales of Freeview HD TVs and boxes reached 1.2 million at the end of 2010.

Ofcom‘s total budget for 2011/12 will be ??115.8 million.

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