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30 Years After Privatisation: Is the UK Telecoms Market Working?

Three reports for UK Competitive Telecoms Association on the UK market 30 years after the privatisation of BT

1984 was the start of a new era in UK telecommunications: shares in BT plc went on sale to the public; Mercury Communications became the first competitor to BT, initially competing for business customers in the City of London; and Oftel was established to regulate BT, reduce prices and protect consumers until competition arrived to do the job instead.

Much has changed since then and yet much has also remained the same. In some cases we have come full circle.

The three reports contained in this volume were commissioned by the UK Competitive Telecommunications Association (UKCTA) and examine how the UK telecoms market has changed since 1984. Specifically, we explore: how competition has developed for business customers (and what more might be done to ensure that it delivers what customers want); whether Ofcom, Oftel’s successor, should move its focus to empowering and protecting consumers rather than simply protecting them; and how competition based on quality and innovation might be enabled in the UK market.