In addition to economic uncertainty, it is the dynamic of technological development and the ensuing structural changes which are keeping both the telecoms industry and the radio and television industry on their toes. In this context, OFCOM's role is to create dependable conditions to meet the technological challenges. This can take place in the course of formalised procedures – e.g. legislation, planning or licensing – but also within the framework of informal discussions and working groups. For example, OFCOM has set up working groups to launch a standardisation process in conjunction with the industry for the introduction of FTTH (Fibre to the Home). The corresponding standards are intended to facilitate the roll-out process and to promote subsequent competition. New technologies and changes in the market are also the subject of a report currently being drawn up within OFCOM in which the Federal Council will report to parliament on developments and options for action in the communications industry.
Technological change does not stop to draw breath, even for such established and venerable regulations as the fee for receiving radio and television programme services. It is now virtually impossible to define what reception equipment subject to the obligation to pay fees actually is. Digital signals can be displayed or heard on practically all computers and since the introduction of the iPhone mobile telephones have increasingly developed into digital platforms.
Many questions are posed and we are working on possible answers so that they can be tested in the political discussion for their utility and feasibility. The fact that the political world’s interest in media and telecommunications issues continues unabated is confirmed by the 82 parliamentary interventions on this topic which have been submitted in the past year and for which OFCOM has prepared answers for the attention of the Federal Council.
Martin Dumermuth, Director