Ofcom’s new Chairman has begun work as the regulator prepares for its largest spectrum auction in five years.
The UK Government named Terry Burns as preferred candidate for the position in November, with his appointment confirmed after a hearing in December.
Burns, who was previously Chairman of broadcaster Channel 4 between 2010 and 2016, will serve a four-year term. He replaces Dame Patricia Hodgson, who stepped down at the end of 2017 after six years in the role.
Burns said: “I am very pleased to have the opportunity to take on this role at an important time for Ofcom. The UK communications sector provides essential services to everyone in the UK and is critical to the future success of the economy.”
Sharon White, Ofcom CEO, added: “Lord Burns brings with him a wealth of experience and I am looking forward to working together as we deliver on Ofcom’s priorities.”
One of Burns’ first big jobs will be leading Ofcom through its auction of a new batch of spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands.
The first major auction since 2013, it will see Ofcom selling around 29 percent of what is currently available.
In December, the UK High Court threw out legal challenges by EE and Three to Ofcom’s proposed spectrum caps for the auction, finding that the regulator’s decision in July was “properly reasoned and based upon sound evidential findings”.
Proposed limits prevent EE from bidding due to its high existing holdings and subject all four operators to a 37 percent cap on their share of total spectrum holdings.
Both Three and EE had sought a judicial review of the process, with Three demanding a lower 30 percent cap and EE calling for caps to be abolished completely.
Three will appeal against the decision but EE will not.
Alongside the spectrum auction, Burns will oversee Ofcom's attempts to encourage investment in fibre networks and monitor progress around the legal separation of Openreach from BT.