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Faculty of Economics

Ofcom Talk - Online Regulation and Spectrum Auctions

Ofcom will be visiting the Faculty of Economics to give talks on "Online Regulation" and "Spectrum Auctions". The events will take place on Monday 27th January at 5:00pm in the Meade Room and will be aimed at Third year undergraduate, MPhil and PhD students.

Ofcom Talk @ Cambridge, Economics Faculty

When: Monday 27 January at 5pm

Where: The Meade Room, Economics Faculty

Who should attend: Third year undergraduate, MPhil and PhD students

Topics: 1. Online regulation and 2. Spectrum auctions

Presenters: Tania van der Brande, Director, Economics Group and Dr. Chris Doyle, Principal, Spectrum Group

Details: Ofcom is tasked with regulating communications services markets. We make sure people get the best from their broadband, home phone and mobile services, as well as keeping an eye on TV and radio. We look after the airwaves used by wireless devices like mobile phones, radars, walkie talkies and even some car keys and doorbells.

The regulation of online markets is a high priority public policy issue and was given prominence in the UK Government's Furman Review in 2019. Ofcom has been busy reviewing how best to address online harms and published a document on this theme in October last year: Online market failures and harms. In our brief presentation we will discuss how economists at Ofcom has used the tools of economics to inform and guide regulatory policy.

The award of spectrum licences to major users such as mobile network operators commands considerable interests as the financial stakes involved can be considerable. Almost twenty years ago the UK government raised over £20 billion from the sale of 3G licences, and in 2013 4G licences were awarded raising over £2 billion.  More recently Ofcom has awarded licenses that have been designated for 5G services and is currently preparing an auction to take place this year on frequency bands that can also be used for 5G services. Economics informs how we design our award processes, in particular the auction format that we choose to use. In our brief presentation we will provide insights about the role economics plays in shaping our award processes.

The presentations will provide a valuable insight into the role economics in public policy and should be of considerable interest in students considering careers in government, public policy, economic consulting and management consulting. The topics should also be of interest to academic researchers interested in how economic theory and empirical tools are used in agencies like Ofcom. The presentations will engage with the audience and we will welcome questions from the floor.  After the formal presentations we will be happy to chat informally about Ofcom and our roles in the organisation.

Event Date - Monday 27th January 2020




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