VLV has made a submission to Ofcom's Annual Plan 2018/19 highlighting its concerns about Ofcom spectrum policy and its approach to consulting on the BBC's performance.
In 2019 there will be a World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC), a key event where countries review, and, if necessary, revise international Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum. In the draft Ofcom Annual Plan for 2018/19 Ofcom doesn't refer to the need to preserve spectrum for digital terrestrial television in its workplan prior to the WRC. This omission concerns VLV. It is crucial this spectrum is protected if we are to continue to be able to access public service broadcasting on free to air platforms such as Freeview. VLV hopes to meet with Ofcom officials to discuss our concerns.
During 2018/19 Ofcom will be far more focused on broadcasting issues now that it has taken over regulation of the BBC following the new Charter in 2016. It will be publishing its first annual report on the BBC's delivery of its mission and purposes in the autumn. VLV would like there to be more stakeholder engagement with licence fee payers during its assessment process.
While we recognise the potential benefits of more sophisticated forms of audience research, VLV does not believe that audience research should be used as a substitute for meaningful stakeholder (ie licence fee payer) engagement. We understand the BBC’s plans for stakeholder engagement are still in development and therefore currently there is no forum for citizens to provide general feedback on BBC performance. This lack of stakeholder engagement represents a significant reduction in the accountability of the BBC.
You can read the full submission here.