Oftel to change its funding methods
Oftel has made a proposal to alter the way it funds itself. Currently any company holding a licence under the Telecommunications Act 1984 must pay towards Oftels running costs. The change is triggered by EU Directives that revoke the existing licences and replace them with general authorisations and conditions which apply to not just telecoms operators but also service providers (ISPs).
Oftel is proposing that after 25th July any electronics communications company with a turnover above £5 million will have to contribute to the regulators running costs. Obviously this is going to encompass a number of the larger ISPs, though where Virtual ISPs sit is perhaps unclear. Interestingly the proposal will mean that around 100 companies that pay now, will not need to pay at all.
Oftel has a budget of around £19.5 million for 2002 - 2003. Once Ofcom takes over the Oftel roll it is expected that this proposed funding method will continue. Service Providers and other companies affected have until 11th March 2003 to make comments to Oftel on the idea.