Policy & Research
In no other sector does the pace of change challenge the relevance of current regulation and consumer protection more.
Whether the change is from technological advance, product innovation, platform convergence or service delivery, the nature of the digital communication markets demands that the consumer voice is able to keep up with market transformation.
What Consumer Focus is doing
Our copyright and licensing regime is creaking at the seams and is unfit for purpose. The reality of how consumers behave and where new markets are heading makes major reform of our system of copyright essential if there is to be a proper balance between the interests of consumers and rights holders. A consequence of the passing of the Digital Economy Act must be a new focus on where consumer protection needs to be strengthened. The unnecessary complexity of licensing is also stifling innovation and opportunities for business.
Consumer Focus is at the heart of that global debate, whether it happens in the UK or in Europe. It has been a long time since being online was either novel or a luxury. Increasingly, to access public services, to get the best deal in markets, even to engage actively in the economy and in society, means being online with a decent broadband speed. Consumer Focus has a remit for those consumers who are at a disadvantage. In today’s Britain if you lack access to reasonable broadband speeds you are at a real disadvantage. Consumer Focus is working to make the ambition of universal coverage a reality. We’ve launched a project looking at digital downsides and how consumers may be negatively affected by our increasingly digital world.
We also keep track of what consumers experience at the retail level. Tariff complexity, bundled confusion and the reality gap between what is advertised and what the consumer receives reveal the holes in consumer protections and the need for that clear and useful information that will help consumer navigate markets, challenge unfair behaviour and seek out the best deals.
23 April 2012
Consumer Focus, The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), the Open Rights Group, the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), are calling for reforms of the UK’s copyright law to be speeded up. The call comes after the latest survey by Consumers International1 reveals that [...]
19 April 2012
In response to Ofcom’s £750,000 fine of HomeServe for silent and abandoned calls, Adam Scorer, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Consumer Focus said: ‘Silent and abandoned calls are an annoyance and can often cause distress to the people who receive them. While they are usually caused by glitches in the technology rather than [...]
29 March 2012
Responding to the likelihood of lower mobile phone roaming charges announced by the European Commission today, Marzena Lipman, European policy manager at Consumer Focus said: ‘Moves to tackle excessive roaming charges are really good news for anyone travelling in the European Union. Mobile and data charges have been notoriously high for too long and stories of [...]
7 March 2012
In response to Ofcom’s announcement on BT wholesale landline and broadband prices, Adam Scorer, Director of Policy and External Affairs for Consumer Focus, said: ‘Talk should be cheaper for consumers from April, as the cost of their landlines and broadband will fall as a result of these moves by Ofcom. Lower wholesale charges should mean telecoms [...]
more news on: digital communications
18 June 2012
Widespread access to the internet and the new technologies that are built upon it are making powerful new approaches to consumer empowerment possible. We are seeing extraordinary advances in our ability to communicate with each other, that will have a more profound and transformative effect on society and the economy than previous advances in communications technology.
2 May 2012
The architects of our energy, financial services and telecommunications markets shared the expectation that individual consumers would act as the engines of competition. Consumers would, it was assumed, maintain vigilance on how their current arrangements fare in relation to the other offers available to them in the market and, if an offer that better suits [...]
1 December 2011
In order to stimulate the ongoing debate on how to update copyright licensing, Consumer Focus and the National Education Network (NEN) are publishing this report on copyright licensing schemes in the educational sector.
more publications on: digital communications