Ofcom has today published its plan of work for the next year, with details about its strategic priorities and work programme, including support for UK broadcasting, online harms regulation and a focus on connectivity.

Strategic priorities:

  • Investment in strong, secure networks. Supporting ongoing investment in faster broadband and better-quality mobile networks. This includes working with industry to make sure the UK’s vital communications networks are safe, secure and resilient.
  • Getting everyone connected. Working to make sure people and businesses can access key communications services – including in the hardest-to-reach locations. This includes monitoring delivery of the universal broadband service and the Shared Rural Network. We will also work to make sure the universal postal service is sustainable for the future.
  • Fairness for customers. Continuing our work to make sure broadband, phone and pay-TV customers – particularly those who are vulnerable – can shop around with confidence, switch easily and are treated fairly.
  • Supporting and developing UK broadcasting. Supporting the UK’s vibrant media sector, including public service broadcasting, and helping it to meet the changing needs of viewers and listeners. We will also continue to monitor and report on the BBC’s performance.

Here, the report states: “The UK broadcasting sector is evolving fast. More capable broadband networks and technological innovation are transforming the way audiences access content. The landscape of content creators, aggregators and platforms has become more complex. Unprecedented choice and greater breadth in professional and user-generated content has brought huge benefits for audiences. But it also means that audiences are becoming increasingly fragmented, presenting challenges for UK broadcasters.”

  • Preparing to regulate online harms. We will regulate UK-established video-sharing platforms. The UK Government has confirmed it intends to appoint Ofcom as the regulator for online harms and we are preparing for this planned new role.

Organisational priorities include:

  • Strengthening Ofcom for the future. As our sectors and our duties are increasingly shaped by online services, we will evolve our skills, develop innovative working practices and build a diverse workforce that reflects the whole of the UK.
  • Developing new partnerships. We will develop new – and build on existing – domestic and international partnerships with regulators, academia, governments, industry and organisations across sectors we regulate.

The full report includes Ofcom’s work programme for the coming 12 months. Read it in full here (‘Supporting and developing UK Broadcasting’ section P17).

The UK’s broadcast and radio sectors are highly valued by viewers and listeners, but need to adapt rapidly to new technologies and changes in viewer behaviour. We will present recommendations to the Government on how to create a strong and competitive environment for public service media in the future. We will also take forward our periodic review of the BBC and start to modernise its operating licence. We will continue to oversee content standards and competition across the industry and hold broadcasters to account for improving diversity both on and off screen.

Melanie Dawes

Chief Executive, Ofcom


29 Mar 2021