News Burst: Oftel announces major role change

Over-regulation disadvantages consumers says Oftel, as it makes the most significant change in its role since 1984

Telecoms watchdog Oftel published its new approach to regulation Tuesday, promising to get the best deal for consumers with "light touch" regulation.

Debate over Oftel's role has been raging in recent months as the Internet and telecoms converge. With government keen to wire the nation and e-commerce an important maturing industry, cheap Net access has become a high priority for the watchdog.

Conceding that "over-regulation disadvantages consumers", Director General of Oftel David Edmonds said in a prepared statement that today's announcement was "The most significant change in Oftel's approach to regulation since 1984. At the heart of Oftel's strategy is a rolling back of formal regulation where competition is already effective, co-regulation where control is still needed and a stronger emphasis on preventing anti-competitive practices".

Full details to follow