Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Regulations ?

So, Britain gets a new Government espousing a 'bonfire of the quangos' and their first step is to, er... create a quango, the 'Office for Budget Responsibility'.

But it does raise the issue of what will happen to media regulation in the UK under a regime that had promised to disband OFCOM.

This is a wonderful opportunity to bring the UK in line with the US and create a body more akin to the FCC. The anomalies that exist in OFCOM's remit have been a real Achilles' heel (e.g. inability to influence the way the BBC buck the market), but so has its ridiculous contention that Google broadcasting video is different to ITV broadcasting video, based on a very strange definition of 'discovery'.

But there are serious political touchpoints around other companies such as BSkyB and BT that any new regulator will have to tackle.

Of course, there is the added complication of EU regulation to take into account (like it or not) which is likely to trump any new UK regulation before it gets the opportunity to get off the ground.

With no investment and the scrapping of the proposed broadband levy, only regulation, or possibly de-regulation, can help with the rural broadband problem that is a blight on many areas of the UK. At a time when countries like the US and even Australia are making massive investments in properly broadband enabling their citizens, the UK is likely to go backwards even faster than it has done over recent years.