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Continuing to connect Telecoms 2015-2017

This document is to present how telecommunications can be further advanced in Northern Ireland by Government.

It is set against the background that telecommunications in the UK is fully privatised and independently regulated. Telecommunications policy is a reserved matter with responsibility primarily resting at Westminster.

It is set against the context of significant budgetary pressures on the Northern Ireland Executive. Government intervention must address market failure and be additional to investment from the private sector. The proposals cover a two year period from 2015 to 2017.During this period, there may be a Comprehensive Spending Review and departmental restructuring. The proposals will be reviewed if these impact on telecoms.

POLICY CONTEXT

The telecommunications market in Northern Ireland, as in the rest of the UK, is fully privatised and independently regulated on a national basis by the Office of Communications (Ofcom). Telecommunications is a reserved matter meaning that it has not been devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive but is controlled centrally by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in London. Under the Communications Act 2003, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has been given limited powers to intervene where there is evidence of market failure but this has to be undertaken with caution in order to avoid distortion of the market and comply with European regulations.

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Source: UK Government

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