By July 17, 2015July 24th, 2015EU insight

By the London Technology Team

Ofcom to look into separation of BT and Openreach as part of Digital Comms Review

This week the media regulator Ofcom published a discussion document on their ‘Strategic Review of Digital Communications’. The headline grabbing news from the publication of this 185 page document was the confirmation that Ofcom is seeking views on whether BT’s Openreach service should be fully separated from BT to form a separate company. Industry is split on the issue with some communications service providers suggesting that separation may cause more problems than it would resolve. 

Ofcom have also explained that they are seeking views in four main areas: investment and innovation in the market; competition; empowering consumers and businesses; targeted regulation and deregulation. The Review comes ten years after Ofcom’s last major review in the area and will undoubtedly have significant implications for consumers and the telecoms industry. The news was well covered by Simon Rockman in The Register.

No ban on encryption but Government warned over Snooper’s Charter

DCMS Minister Ed Vaizey rejected speculation that the Government is planning to ban encryption and reiterated the Government’s commitment to cyber security at a Reform event, noting that the forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review would announce more measures on cyber.

Vaizey’s speech came amid warnings that the Investigatory Powers Bill should not be fast-tracked. Speaking ahead of RUSI’s Independent Surveillance Review, the think-tank’s Director General, Professor Michael Clarke, cautioned against “rapid legislation”, saying that it risked undermining “proper democratic principles”. Home Secretary Theresa May has already told MPs that she intends to push the legislation through Parliament this autumn. Charlotte Jee wrote on the event for Techworld.

Apple Pay not bearing fruit

Apple Pay finally launched in the UK, but turned rotten quickly. Payments didn’t go through and banks weren’t prepared. In London, those using it for transport were told that if a device died mid-journey, they would be unable to ‘tap out’ or prove they have a valid ticket. Apple have form for bad launches, with Apple Maps derided on launch and Apple Music forced to U-turn it’s free trial policy after an intervention from Taylor Swift.

The firm’s genius has always been taking existing tech (there are already dozens of NFC based payment systems), and using it’s loyal fan-base, branding and user friendly interface to make niche-tech mainstream. Fintech is an area ripe for innovation, and despite the glitches, expect to see a lot of people using their mobiles to make purchases in the next couple of years. Samuel Gibbs covered it for The Guardian and Rory Cellan Jones trialled it for BBC News.