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 Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ofcom commissioned Spectrum Strategy Consultants to help develop the scope of a new NGN industry body which it does in a report linked from this page, as proposed in this consultation. Spectrum’s recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of Ofcom. Ofcom continues to discuss a range of issues in relation to NGNs with industry stakeholders. These discussions include the scope and role of any NGN industry body.

From the Executive Summary of the report.

Introduction

In its “Next Generation Networks: Further consultation”, held between 30 June and 12 August 2005 , Ofcom proposed the creation of an industry body tasked with the co-ordination of the UK telecoms industry’s transition to NGN core networks. The respondents to the consultation generally agreed that there was a need to address NGN issues that are currently not being covered by existing bodies. However, there was less consensus as to how to do this, and many respondents questioned what the purpose, scope and mechanics of a new NGN Body would be.

This report outlines a proposal for the purpose and role of an NGN Body. It also sets out a proposed organisational and governance structure. It does not include a review of Ofcom’s proposal to establish an Operational Adjudicator.

The recommendations in this document are based on a series of 32 interviews with representatives from the industry, Ofcom, and other industry bodies. We have endeavoured to reflect the views of the majority of stakeholders interviewed and to suggest pragmatic solutions to concerns raised. We expect that the proposals set out in this report will be refined as Ofcom embarks on further engagement with key stakeholders in the NGN transition.

Summary of recommendations

We recommend that Ofcom and the stakeholders in the UK telecoms industry proceed with setting up an NGN Body. We believe that such a body would benefit all stakeholders in the transition of the UK telecommunications industry to NGNs and help to ensure a smooth transition for both industry and end-users.

We propose the creation of an NGN Body in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • The body’s purpose should be to develop a joint vision and framework for the transition to NGNs that encompasses commercial, technical and operational issues
  • It will issue recommendations to the industry
  • In order to function effectively, the body will require a stringent governance and organisational structure:

    • its membership should be inclusive; stakeholders will be able to participate in workgroups on specific issues independent of size and degree of infrastructure ownership
    • in order to function effectively, the NGN body will need a strong figurehead as a chairman supported by a well-resourced management team equipped with strategic, technical and programme management expertise
    • a board consisting of 8-10 industry representatives needs to be appointed to approve the body’s recommendations and to drive its agenda forward
    • the organisation will be independent, accountable only to its members
    • Ofcom should adopt the role of an active observer

  • The body should be owned and funded by industry in order to enable its independence. However, Ofcom will need to play a leading role during the set-up phase
  • The body is required as soon as possible and should be set up within the next six to seven months; it is expected to have a lifetime of 3-4 years