Joint Committee on The Draft Communications Bill Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 24

Memorandum submitted by edNET

OFCOM CONSULTATION FORUMS: PROPOSED STRUCTURE

INTRODUCTION

  We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate on what we hope from the merged OFCOM, from both edNET and our customers' perspective.

PROPOSED STRUCTURE

  We have one fundamental concern with the proposed structure of the OFCOM organisation template. The term consumer panel blurs the hierarchy of consultation, as this (we hope) is to incorporate retail, wholesale, and incumbent consumer interests. We would propose a simpler and more transparent structure of consultation to OFCOM as follows:


  Use of quarterly physical meetings should be supported by online mailing lists with web-based archives for reference. This also allows the discussions for ACs and ASCs to be transparent to one another, even if they are not subscribed to these lists. Online discussion is key to minimise the costs and time associated with consultation.

  This structure allows for direct dialogue between consumers and industry, as well as transparency of the issues faced by industry in delivering to consumers, and the issues foremost to prioritise on behalf of their customers.

  It would hopefully also allow for transparent representation of issues to OFCOM, with the agenda of the representing individuals or organisations clearly known to all.

SUMMARY

  The key issues we face are transparency of consultation to any interested parties (using the OFCOM website as the starting point, and pointing interested parties at the relevant forums for getting involved with the process).

  There must be clarity for representation between suppliers, service providers (which has to include media companies etc), and incumbents (again, if you want a technology-neutral format to the OFCOM approach, it has to recognise incumbents in each technology medium—arguably a tricky task).

  The meeting in London in October 2001 made clear that those from each sector (be it consumers or industry) have different agendas and need for representation. As such, the delineation and clarity of representation is important.

June 2002


 
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