Super-Regulator’ Sharpens Focus On Accessibility
The UK government set up Ofcom in 2003 to be a ’super-regulator’ for the nation’s communications industries, merging five former regulatory bodies across
the television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications sectors.
Part of the body’s role includes ensuring equal access to communications technology for disabled people, and in its first five years of operation it has carried out various projects relating to access to television, telecommunications and radio by all users. People with disabilities have been involved for example in work by Ofcom’s Consumer panel, an advisory body representing consumer interests; its broadcasting Content Board, which looks beyond consumer issues to the broader ‘public interest’; and its Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People.
Now, however, the pace of change in all its areas of activity including the convergence of internet services with television; the rise of digital radio; and the switchover to digital TV have prompted the regulator to give renewed priority to ensuring that all citizens are able to benefit from modern communications services.