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Strategic Review of Communications

The Isle of Man has very good communications networks and services, which have formed one of the foundations of the competitive edge enjoyed by the Island over recent years. The on-Island fixed (land-line) phone network is extensively used. Manx Telecom has invested substantially over the years in a converged Next-Generation Network and an upgrade to faster broadband (using ADSL2+ technology). In mobile telephony, the Island has traditionally been at the forefront of innovation, and was the first European nation to launch 3G data services. Island residents have access to three indigenous radio stations as well as TV and radio services originating from the UK.

Although there is the potential to use the Island's communications infrastructure to develop new businesses and services for residents, the Island also faces a number of challenges. There is a global drive towards further development of communications networks – such as investment in fibre optic and 4G mobile networks, universal fixed and mobile broadband services and digital switchover for radio being planned by a number of nations. Competition has also undoubtedly brought with it greater value for Isle of Man residents and businesses but the regulatory framework has not evolved to keep pace.

The Communications Commission therefore began a strategic review of communications on the Isle of Man in 2009 with the objective to modernise the structure of regulation so as to provide a platform for licensees to develop, test and deliver truly innovative communications services.

In December 2009 we published the first report from our consultants Perspective Associates, which aimed to assess the current situation on the Island and make recommendations for a new framework of communications regulation. This report informed our public consultation, published at the same time, in which the Commission sought views on three different approaches to regulation and asked respondents to comment on which they felt would be best for the Isle of Man.

The consultation closed in February 2010 and we wish to thank all those who submitted a response. We have now published our response to the consultation document which also identifies the next steps and a second report from Perspective entitled “The Isle of Man Approach to Telecommunications Regulation and Spectrum Awards”.