The UK regulator has announced plans to conduct a strategic review of the country’s digital communications market.

Ofcom said the primary focus of the review will be on infrastructure and will attempt to answer three key questions:

How can incentives for efficient private sector investment and innovation be maintained and strengthened, to ensure widespread availability and high quality of service?

What should be the focus of competition policy in future networks (the 'enduring economic bottlenecks')?

What is the scope for deregulating networks and services downstream of any ‘enduring bottlenecks'?

The first phase of the review, due to conclude this summer, will examine current and future market factors that may affect digital communications services, and current regulatory approaches.

Building on stakeholder responses a discussion document of phase one, a second phase will “draw initial conclusions and set out a clear plan for next steps”. This is due to happen by the end of the year.

Ofcom said a number of “significant developments”, notably plans for the next round of fixed and mobile network investment, the use of OTT communications services and continued market interest in convergence and consolidation had led them to launch the review now.

The last major review took place between 2003 and 2005.

Steve Unger, Ofcom Acting Chief Executive, said: “We have seen huge changes in the phone and broadband markets since our last major review a decade ago. Only five years ago, hardly any of us had used a tablet computer, high-definition streaming or 4G mobile broadband.

“Our new review will mean Ofcom’s rules continue to meet the needs of consumers and businesses by supporting competition and investment for years to come.”

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