Ofcom to hold "beauty contest" for Suffolk

Ofcom, the Super Regulator, is advertising the Local Radio Multiplex Licence for SUFFOLK. This is a DAB radio license which is a standard VHF DAB channel known internationally as ‘Frequency Block 10C (centre frequency of 213.360 MHz).

Any application will be considered in a beauty contest process, whereby the applicants suitability is judged against Ofcom's criteria.

There is an application fee of £5,000 per applicant which is non refundable under any circumstances.

Arqiva will provide the infrastructure for transmission services and capacity must be made available for the provision of BBC local radio (Radio Suffolk in this instance).

The system must not interfere with foreign transmission from Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium.

The applications process is contained within the document at the above link.

Ofcom to undertake a Strategic Review of Digital Communications

Ofcom, the Super Regulator, is holding a Strategic Review of Digital Communications to promote competition and investment in converged digital communications services.

This is mainly concerned with infrastructure services such as broadband, but will also cover mobile 4G and future 5G services and "over-the-top" services (i.e. services deliver on top of Internet services such as VoIP, messaging systems such as WhatsApp which is replacing SMS, etc).

Ofcom last held a review 10 years ago after BT's infrastructure operation was separated into a distinct entity (BT Openreach, though still part of BT Group).

There have been many changes since the last review such as the merger of T-Mobile and Orange into EE (which has subsequently been purchased by BT) and consolidation in the ISP market (02, Tiscali, AOL, Be, Easynet).

Since 2005

  • broadband adoption has increased from 31% to 78%
  • take-up of bundled services has risen from 29% in 2005 to 63% today
  • significant commercial and public sector investment in superfast broadband has resulted in 78% availability five years after deployment started. Adoption of this new service is now 27%
  • mobile broadband availability has increased significantly, with 3G increasing from 82% to 99% of premises, and 4G services available to 73% of premises. Mobile broadband take-up is now 67%
  • new entrants have shown strong growth in some areas (for example, local loop unbundling now accounts for 44% of broadband connections, up from 17% in 2005)

While Ofcom can not predict the overall output it will likely encompass

  • Efficient investment: How can incentives for efficient private sector investment and innovation be maintained and strengthened, to ensure widespread availability and high quality of service?
  • Competition: What should be the focus of competition policy in future networks (the 'enduring economic bottlenecks')?
  • Deregulation: What is the scope for deregulating networks and services downstream of any 'enduring bottlenecks'?

Ofcom is planning to complete the review by Summer of 2015.

Nominet consult on .uk WHOIS

Nominet who are the registry for the .uk domain are holding a consultation on what data the .uk WHOIS database contains.

Currently the .uk WHOIS data is what's considered "thick" will full registrant and other details given out by the WHOIS server i.e.

Result of WHOIS query:
Domain name:
     Andrew Other
 Registrant type:
     UK Sole Trader
 Registrant's address:
     Minerva House
     Edmund Halley Road
     OX4 4DQ
     United Kingdom
 Data validation:
     Registrant contact details validated by Nominet on 10-
     Efficient Registrar Limited [Tag = EFF]
     URL: http://www.efficientregistrar.uk
 Relevant dates:
     Registered on: before Aug-1996
     Expiry date:  06-Dec-2015
     Last updated:  25-Nov-2013
 Registration status:
     Registered until expiry date.
Name servers:
     nom-ns2.nominet.org.uk 2a01:40:1001:37::2

While many registries only return a "thin" version such as .com i.e.

Domain Name: EXAMPLE.COM
   Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 69
   Whois Server: whois.tucows.com
   Referral URL: http://www.tucowsdomains.com
   Name Server: NS.GBNET.NET
   Name Server: NS0.DEMON.CO.UK
   Name Server: NS1.DEMON.CO.UK
   Name Server: NS1.GBNET.NET
   Status: ok http://www.icann.org/epp#OK
   Updated Date: 08-dec-2014
   Creation Date: 23-dec-1994
   Expiration Date: 22-dec-2015

When the original policy was set in 2002 the registrant info was probably the main source of information about a domain, however with the advent of social media this situation has changed considerably.

Now there are valid reasons for not having the full registrant details available to everyone (via public WHOIS) and though Nominet does allow individuals' details to be excluded, that's pretty much the only exception to having the information published. This has also led to the development of privacy services, whereby the domain is registered to an organisation and then transferred to the privacy organisation so they information is displayed.

This has lead to issues with domain dispute issues as Nominet operate a "3 strikes" rule and if the dispute is over a domain held by a privacy organisation, then that can affect them (when it's really a customer of their's).

Nominet is looking at various options to solve these issues.

Interested stakeholders may submit a response on-line.