Talk:Ofcom

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Untitled[edit]

For what it's worth, the Communications Act 2003 [1] uses the all-caps form OFCOM, but the organisation's own website uses the mixed-case Ofcom, which also seems to be the style preferred by the Guardian [2] and other media outlets. Should we have a consistent style? If so, which? --rbrwr 16:52, 22 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Better to move it to its full name Office of Communications.
No, Ofcom (whether capped or not) is the most familiar form. I will put that in the article and make it a redirect, though. --rbrwrˆ

Analogue -> Digital shift[edit]

According to the Guardian ([3]), Ofcom has decided to outlaw analogue broadcasts by 2012. As an American, I simply can't understand this at all. I mean, as a good lefty I certainly feel that things here in America are often a little under-regulated; from my point of view I think our government sometimes lets companies get away with too much. But this seems to take the opposite phenomenon -- overregulation -- to a ridiculous and unintelligible extreme. Isn't the UK a free country? Why shouldn't broadcasters be allowed to have parallel analogue and digital streams if they want to? It would be like the USDA (our food safety body here) not only banning the sale of rotten meat (which is dangerous) but also banning the sale of chuck steaks (because they really aren't as good as sirloin). User:Doops 04:19, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I believe the idea is that the electromagnetic spectrum belongs to society as a whole, and so society as a whole (or its representatives in Parliament, or their delegates at Ofcom) should get to choose how it's used. If someone sells sirloin steaks they aren't causing a nuisance to anyone else; if someone decides to broadcast, say, radio signals in the middle of the bands of the spectrum which are used for TV, they're causing a public nuisance. Marnanel 04:47, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)
True; I understand that that's the rationale under which the airwaves are heavily regulated (in Britain or in America or anywhere). There's only a limited amount of spectrum out there. But is it so limited that there's no room for even one analogue channel? And, frankly, it seems to me a little specious to suggest that Ofcom represents "society as a whole" here any more than society as a whole itself does -- that is to say, if society as a whole continues to buy analogue TVs (rather than digital ones), then surely they're voting with their pocketbooks? Doops 05:08, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Look at the map available here [4] - this is the UK UHF TV broadcasting transmitter network. Each of those transmitters is broadcasting (or rebroadcasting - red dots) 4 (often 5) stations on different UHF channels (see here [5]). Where I live, I can receive broadcasts from *3* different masts, using a reasonably good (standard) UHF aerial. As I am sure you can guess, this has limited the number of channels that one transmitter can broadcast (to prevent clashing). HM Government (and the broadcasters themselves) want to move television broadcasts over to a digital system, which allows more than one station to broadcast on one UHF channel (5-6?). However, there is not enough room on the UK TV broadcasting spectrum to broadcast a good (reception, not programming!) quality digital service to the majority of British homes without switching off analogue broadcasts; the digital terrestrial system broadcast at present is almost impossible to receive in most rural areas and is not that great in cities. Freeing up the present analogue channels for digital broadcasts would allow a greater number of channels to be broadcast to a greater number of British homes, thus making the Government even more money in broadcast licence fees (which I suspect is the real reason for their encouragement of digital takeup... :-D). I hope this long and waffly scribble answers your question! -- Marknew 09:30, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I still think that mandating an aesthetic judgement is not quite the same thing as referreeing among various broadcasters and keeping them honest. But as long as the government has decided that it's in the business of keeping me entertained (which still seems a little creepy), why not go all the way and mandate digital cable TV? (Do you have cable in the UK? In America it's nearly ubiquitous; sometimes I feel like the only person without it.) That's of even higher quality and would solve the bandwidth issue altogether. Of course, like the analogue-digital switch, it would leave some people out in the cold who didn't feel like upgrading. Doops 16:03, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)
There is cable (at about 8% penetration, IIRC), and all of it is digital, and has been for a while. There's satellite (? 20%), and that's digital, and has been for a while. Terrestrial broadcasts are the only one of the three ways you can get television that aren't entirely digital - there's no need for the government to mandate it (and the Radio Authority, or whatever it's called, wouldn't really have the basis for the claim, given that it doesn't use ether RFs), as it's already been made by companies because it was considered economically viable.
James F. (talk)
P.S.: "Of even higher quality"? No, digital satellite, digital cable, and digital terrestrial are all PAL/SDTV digital, and all at the same quality, IIRC.
James F. (talk) 07:44, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The date for digital TV switchover has NOT yet been set and is still just a discussion point. However, it is something the Government want to do (perhaps so they can sell some of the analog spectrum), and so Ofcom are tasked with managing the switchover.
--Frankie Roberto 01:16, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Returning to this discussion after a long hiatus, I just noticed that I never really stated the question inherent in my earlier musings: after the switch, what happens to all the old legacy televisions? They just stop working, right? Isn't that kind of sad? Today, if you really want to, you can try to watch the modern, up-to-date broadcasts on a crummy little black&white TV from the 50s; I think it will be a loss when all you can get is static. Doops 03:47, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think you'd still be able to use them with an external Freeview box, at least until HDTV becomes universal. On the other hand, If you try to watch today's terrestrial broadcasts on a 1950s TV you might have some problems, as they were designed for 405-line VHF transmissions, not 625-line UHF. Your 1950s TV has seen nothing but static since January 1985. --rbrwr±
(n.b. This applies to the situation with 1950s televisions in the UK, not in America where Doops is.) --rbrwr± 8 July 2005 19:25 (UTC)

Doops- It seems the US (and its FCC) has been embarking down a similar route (along with a host of other countries). Sets with mid sized screens in the US will be required to be capable of receiving digital TV by march 1st 2006. 'Under current US laws analogue television signals are due to switched off by the end of next year, so long as 85% of households have made the switch- a prospect that most observers consider unlikely.'

http://www.dtg.org.uk/news/news.php?class=countries&subclass=0&id=933

Note that 2006 is yet earlier than 2011. Seems you're actually in a somewhat analogous state. User:Isthatyou

More on this at List of digital television deployments by country. --rbrwr± 8 July 2005 19:25 (UTC)

The thing that concerns me about abandoning analogue is that the AM analogue signals are transmitted over a very wide area. This means that in England we can hear the Voice of Russia, Swedish Radio, etc, broadcasts in English, and the BBC world service is broadcast on 678kHz AM/Medium Wave. When the authorities refer to abandoning analogue in Britain are they referring only to the FM bands or AM as well? And if AM - what happens to the rest of Europe? There is no point in making, for example, 693 & 909 khZ (BBC radio 5) frequencies available to other UK users because European broadcast stations would fill the broadcast gaps. --Norvic48 (talk) 17:01, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

BBC/Fox issue[edit]

Is it me or have I missed something? The Fox/BBC paragraph is a very good example of OFCOM in action, but it seems to just sit out of context in this article. Is it supposed to be something to do with Consultation - the section title? Why is just this one case study given? Surely there have been others? I wonder whether this item, as excitingly juicy as it is, might be in here for reasons other than simply informing the reader about OFCOM - and, perhaps, with more direct quotations than are strictly necessary. I wouldn't want to see it removed, but maybe framed with some explanation, or balanced with some other examples. Naturenet 22:41, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It doesn't really belong under "consultations": it was a programme complaint under existing standards, not a consultation about future policy. It's also intersting that the original addition of this paragraph is the only contribution of the user who added it. I agree that there seems to be an agenda at work here, and more work needs to be done. Programme complaints would be the obvious place to look for balancing examples, though there are other regulatory actions to be explored. --rbrwr± 23:17, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I added a section with a brief intro. it needs reworking.

I'd agree with the original comment in this. This example, and the citation of the Jerry Springer Decision as "one of the most controversial", both seem very POV; there seems absolutely no reason to single them out. Incidentally, was the Jerry Springer decision even made by Ofcom? There's no source cited and Jerry Springer: The Opera was broadcast on the BBC, which doesn't come within Ofcom's remit. I'd happily see it removed, if other examples can't be found to balance it.

I've removed the reference to the Jerry Springer decision, which is there solely to identify it as "perhaps one of the most controversial decisions". On the face of it, the OFCOM decision doesn't seem at all unexpected, controversial or out of order. It was obvious that no breach of the broadcasting code was involved; the complaints related to personal offence taken by some viewers at unflattering depictions of Jesus and the like. --TS 12:32, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

ITV[edit]

The footer states this is related to ITV, which is incorrect.

- Jax

In what way is it incorrect? Ofcom is the regulator of ITV, as successor to the ITC and the BSC. --rbrwr± 20:10, 5 Feb 2005 (UTC)

This is not really correct. Ofcom regulates all the TV channels, and more besides (e.g. telephone companies). The ITV stuff should go. -Splashtalk 16:18, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Which is to say that e.g. being in Category:ITV and having the ITV template at the bottom implies it is somehow part of, or only related to, ITV. See the adjudications to see that Ofcom deals with all of them. -Splashtalk 16:29, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

No. This Ofcom article should not be associated with the ITV article/category any more than it should with any other service it regulates. It should either be removed, or each article that describes a service regulated by Ofcom should also be listed. There must be a logical balance when categorising and linking information. Beck13 15:06, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

AFD on manufacturer Alice Soundtech[edit]

There's an AFD on Alice Soundtech, a leading UK supplier of studio and transmission equipment for RSL radio stations, from mixing consoles to AM/FM transmitters, based in Surrey. People in the biz or in the know can chime in at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Alice Soundtech. -- 62.147.86.249 16:54, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Criticism section[edit]

As an Ofcom employee I would not think it proper to edit the 'Criticism' section myself - but I would suggest that this is not representative of criticism of Ofcom (e.g. it does not refer to the debate over food advertising to children) and reads like it has been written by someone with an axe to grind over their own specific difficulties with an ISP! Suggest someone else re-writes this to refer more generally to criticism of Ofcom.

Yes, this section needs vast improvement. As someone outside the UK realm, it makes no sense. What is a "MAX"? And, what is a "MAC"? Does it refer to Machine Address Control, as in Ethernet? --Charles Gaudette 08:55, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
A MAC code is a 'Migratory Authentication Code' used between ISPs to transfer accounts to new providers. Various UK ISPs have refused to provide these in the past, and users have been forced to negotiate lengthy contract termination and reconnection schemes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.111.51.101 (talk) 18:25, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
I'd rather agree with this comment. In particular the final comments in the Criticisms section should be questioned in regards to objectivity... --81.111.129.137 15:46, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree that this section is not objectively written and contains a number of contentious but unsubstantiated statements. Therefore I've tagged the whole section for POV and marked the contentious statements for *citation needed*. If these statements cannot be substantiated soon I'd suggest to delete the whole criticism section and replace with something more objective, which I'm ready to write if necessary. MarkPos 19:40, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Go ahead. That section is truly awful! Guydrury (talk) 22:11, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Yep, reading the criticism sounds very one sided and lacks substantial sources. "...and some claim this..." in the text itself isn't good enough without proof! :) Londonsista (talk) 13:46, 15 January 2008 (UTC) The criticism is fair enough. It is a fact that Ofcom have failed to enforce any of its policies or use the extent of it powers and prefers to issue further guideance notes for the industry rather than act as a regulator. J.Crowley —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.44.127.130 (talk) 13:49, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

I see the Criticism section has been deleted, rather than improved. This is a pity because there is a lot to criticise about Ofcom. The problem is that there is no official criticism of Ofcom which could be cited as a reference because Ofcom is not accountable to anybody. All the criticism I have read has come from individuals who have been let down by Ofcom so it counts as original research. How can this problem be tackled? Biscuittin (talk) 11:26, 10 July 2010 (UTC)
OK, I have found some refs and added them. Biscuittin (talk) 12:03, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

I think the criticism section should make a comeback. For an organisation tasked with managing the UK's communications, OfCom don't actually have a contact email address. Mongoosander (talk) 19:59, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

Al Jazeera[edit]

Has Ofcom had any problems with Al Jazeera? I have heard alot of noise about Ofcom and Fox News, but I have heard nothing about Al Jazeera being held to a similar standard.LookBook 23:51, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Ofcom and radio spectrum awards[edit]

An important responsibility of Ofcom is licensing. Ofcom has promoted a strategy of liberalisation of the spectrum whereby the most effective way to ensure maximum return on spectrum usage is the market. Hence an approach consisting of auctions as main vehicle for licenses awards. This approach is developed in Ofcom's Spectrum Framework Review. --Henri 14:55, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Oftel History[edit]

In the introduction there is a link for 'Office of Telecommunication' (Oftel) but this redirects to Ofcom again. Was there a page of Oftel giving for example the history of its creation and how it was subsumed into Ofcom? 217.42.171.6 (talk) 23:56, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

There is also a link to the Radio Authority (again, a predecessor to Ofcom) which redirects to this page.194.66.74.156 (talk) 19:54, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

I suspect that there were articles for each of Ofcom's predecessors as they were the regulatory bodies in their respective areas, existing before Ofcom came into operation after the founding of Wikipedia. I reckon that the articles were deleted and redirected to this article as the previous bodies have been abolished and Ofcom is the current regulator. On your last point, I am proposing here recreating the article for the Radio Authority. I have been directed to this Ofcom article from a link in the article for Feargal Sharkey, the person rather than the album. He was a member of the former Radio Authority and the redirection to this Ofcom article may suggest he is a member of Ofcom when he isn't. I think there should therefore at least be an article, even if not containing much information nowadays (about a former regulator that has been abolished and does not exist anymore), giving the dates when the body was operational and pointing to this Ofcom article as the current regulator. There is an article for example for the Independent Broadcasting Authority, although perhaps that was more well-known than the Radio Authority, and even an article for the very old Independent Television Authority, setting out that they are former authorities, stating when they existed and setting out major events during their time. Wikipedia, as an encyclopedia, is missing a part of the history of regulators in different industries and the record of them. In the context of Feargal Sharkey's career, and possibly others that have had careers at other predecessors but not at Ofcom, it is wrong to redirect to Ofcom. aspaa (talk) 14:46, 4 September 2020 (UTC)

Programme complaints[edit]

I've removed all references to specific complaints from the article. Those listed are not particularly important or representative of OFCOM's work, and insofar as they're worthy of attention they will be covered adequately in the appropriate articles. --TS 12:40, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Overseas territories[edit]

Does Ofcom have any jurisdiction over British Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies? -- Beland (talk) 00:35, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

It seems that, per advice against both abbreviations (WP:TITLEFORMAT) and geographic bias (WP:WORLDVIEW), this article should be located at Office of Communications. Note that the article itself starts with this more descriptive and recognizable name. ENeville (talk) 17:17, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Status of Ofcom[edit]

Ofcom is shown in this article as a Statutory corporation. I think it is a Non-departmental public body (popularly known as a Quango). Which is correct? Biscuittin (talk) 09:42, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

My mistake. It is a corporation. [6] Biscuittin (talk) 15:18, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

OFCOM vs R&TTE[edit]

What the difference of authority? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.122.74.13 (talk) 18:02, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

OFCOM to run BBC[edit]

Breaking news (The Telegraph): Ofcom to replace the BBC Trust and run the BBC. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 5.64.182.168 (talk) 21:50, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

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