Why new Ofcom chief executive Sharon White’s first speech was a breath of fresh air

Former second Permanent Secretary at the Treasury, Sharon White, became Ofcom’s new chief executive in 2015. Here’s why we like what we’ve heard so far.

Posted on 22 June 2015 - Broadband Ofcom
Tibus BY Tibus

Sharon White’s first speech in her new role at Ofcom was really encouraging - a breath of fresh air to those of us in the industry.

The most impressive thing she mentioned was the move towards allowing consumers to walk away from broadband contracts when the underlying speeds provided don’t match what was sold to them.

This is sensible, fair and will encourage operators to make sure they do what they’ve said they will do (and to make sure they only say what they know they can do).

Much more importantly, it will encourage the whole industry to take a more mature approach to the way broadband is delivered and marketed. Too often the industry feels far too murky to the consumer and to the business buyer - the industry needs to recognise and respond to that.

We are delighted that, under Sharon White, Ofcom appears to determined to shed more light and, if necessary, bear more regulatory fangs in order to speed this process.

There are very good operators out there - firms that do what they say they will do - and their quality of service should be rewarded rather than lose out to the company with the biggest marketing budget.

Placing more focus on the speeds and services that are being delivered (in reality and not in the advert) will have a knock-on effect, too. It will encourage retail internet service providers (ISPs) to review their wholesale and core network provisions from their own operators.

If you are an ISP that must deliver what you promised or lose a valuable customer overnight, you will be be keen to encourage your own providers to make sure their services allow you to meet your regulatory and contractual requirement. This will create a nice chain of change throughout the industry.

At Tibus, we fully support Sharon White’s appointment and her comments to date. Long may that commitment to change continue. A renewed zeal from Ofcom for intervention in the core UK network will be of huge and rapid benefit to the UK economy, consumers and businesses.