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When is an independent regulator not independent? - Ofcom

If an independent regulator is to be just that - independent, we should not expect senior members to be sharing sensitive information with competing companies. So, why did Rhodri Williams do just that?

Aug. 12, 2011 - PRLog -- Simply put – when they don’t act with independence in mind.

Ofcom is the communications regulator. Funded by ‘fees from industry’ and grant-in-aid from Government (taxes from you and I), the people who work in Ofcom exist (in their own words) to:

   “…regulate the TV and radio sectors, fixed line telecoms and mobiles, plus the airwaves over which wireless devices operate.”

they further go on to say:

   “The Act says that Ofcom’s general duties should be to further the interests of citizens and of consumers. Meeting these two duties is at the heart of everything we do.”

Problem is, Rhodri Williams (Director of Wales for Ofcom) thinks that it is also his job to share information with a few chosen suppliers, when he gets time sensitive information from a company.

This type of ‘market interference’ is not within the remit of Ofcom – and speaks to how Williams believes that he can act in Wales. Essentially, to suit himself and with impunity. Not for him the way of independence it seems.

On 30th of July this year Richard Brown (COO Wispa Limited) sent the following message, via email to Rhodri Williams:

Hi Rhodri

I’m willing to bet your life is plenty busy at the moment! As a bit of a courtesy (well – you were always so helpful when I was at exwavia!), and as the attached mentions Ofcom – I thought I would give you a heads up before the Press start reading it.

The PDF is a bit of a lashup of what will go to International/National/Regional TV/Radio/Printed Press tonight – and will hit the internet tomorrow sometime.

Don’t hurt your wrists trying to get the attachment open – Ofcom are only mentioned in passing – but as I said, I wanted to extend the same courtesy to you that you extended to me.

All the best

The PDF referred to is here:

Wales – Online Village Idiot - http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a78979d6539fc548431eb...

As it says in the email to Williams. This was sent to him as a courtesy as Ofcom were mentioned.

What happened next was a stunning display of the total lack of independence that Williams displays. The email was forwarded to a total of six other recipients. No big deal on the face of it – seems sensible to share information inside Ofcom. Unfortunately, one of the recipients was an organisation responsible for starting Wales Internet Service Providers Association, who insist on using the acronym WISPA (obviously our Limited company name).

Why would Williams share this information with them?

The chairman of Wales Internet Service Providers Association is none other than Hywel Wiliam – ex Ofcom.

So, the Ofcom boys (ex and current) think that it is okay to send emails to competing organisations, simply because their mate works there.

In this country, and the way that policy and regulation is being handled, they are almost certainly right in believing that they can do whatever they like, without control, and without being questioned about it. Why should Ofcom operate in an independent and neutral manner if it doesn’t suit them? What are we going to do about it?

Well, Mr Williams – here’s what this company is going to do about it. We’ll print the evidence of your flagrant disregard for independence here:


To    rhodri.williams@ofcom.org.uk    
From    richard@wispa.it
Subject    Heads up
Sent on    30-Jun-11 at 14:26:15pm ‘GMT+1′ time
1st Open    
30-Jun-11 at 14:37:37pm +01:00    (86%) Bristol, England, United Kingdom

Tracking Details

Forwarded/opened on different computer
Opened    30-Jun-11 at 18:04:18pm (UTC +01:00) – 3hours38mins3secs after sending
Location    Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom (86% likelihood)
Opened on    ssl¸nsuk¸com (91¸194¸46¸2:52599)
Browser    used by recipient: Moz/4.0 (MSIE 7.0; WinNT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/4.0; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; MDDR; InfoPath.3; .NET4.0C; MS-RTC LM 8; ms-office; MSOffice 14)

Re-opened (by earlier reader #2)
Opened    30-Jun-11 at 18:05:20pm (UTC +01:00) – 3hours39mins5secs after sending
Location    Manchester, England, United Kingdom (86% likelihood)
Opened on    titanium¸onspeed¸com (188¸65¸183¸53:36993)
Language    of recipient’s PC: en-us (English/United States), en;q=0.5 (English)
Browser    used by recipient: Moz/5.0 (Win; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20110616 Thunderbird/3.1.11
Accepts    Files browser can open: i/png,i/*;q=0.8,*/*;q=0.5

Re-Opened (by earlier reader #3)
Opened    30-Jun-11 at 18:37:47pm (UTC +01:00) – 4hours11mins32secs after sending
Location    London, England, United Kingdom (86% likelihood)
Opened on    host109-153-144-180¸range109-153¸btcentralplus¸com (109¸153¸144¸180:49663)
Browser    used by recipient: Moz/4.0 (MSIE 7.0; WinNT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/5.0; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; eSobiSubscriber; MAAR; .NET4.0C; MSOffice 12)
Last log    No more activity after 30-Jun-11 at 18:39:28pm (UTC +01:00) – Log data indicates email was read for at least 1min41secs (approx.)

Forwarded/opened on different computer
Opened    30-Jun-11 at 20:41:21pm (UTC +01:00) – 6hours15mins6secs after sending
Location    Telford, England, United Kingdom (86% likelihood)
Opened on    78-32-25-242¸static¸enta¸net (78¸32¸25¸242:11206)
Language    of recipient’s PC: en-us (English/United States)
Browser    used by recipient: Moz/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko)

Summary – as at 30-Jun-11 at 20:53:48pm (UTC +01:00) – 6hours27mins33secs after sending
Total    Opened 11 times by 6 readers
Reader #1    Opened 3 times for 8mins12secs total
Reader #2    Opened 3 times
Reader #3    Opened 2 times for 9mins1sec total
Reader #4    Opened 1 time
Reader #5    Opened 1 time
Reader #6    Opened 1 time

Click here for up-to-date (live) tracking information. This confirmation was produced and sent at: 30-Jun-11 at 20:53:48pm (UTC +01:00) (30-Jun-11 19:53:48 GMT) courtesy of http://www.ReadNotify.com with times converted to ‘GMT+1′ time; and refers to an original email of sender reference ID  and ReadNotify.com reference 2904457477beb3c58eb97feda49bd551 and only acknowledges that the message was displayed (ie: not necessarily read or understood) on the recipient’s machine. You can change your settings (including turning off these email read notifications, or getting them instead by ICQ, SMS, or Pager) from the ReadNotify web site.

ReadNotify.com E-mail Proof-of-Opening-Time Digital Certificate. On Thu, 30 Jun 2011 19:53:50 GMT the tracked e-mail referenced above was recorded as opened. This certificate, sequence number #17920274, irrevocably links the above tracking references with the date and time they were recorded. The following signature is now published online; to view it, verify it, or for more information, please visit www.ReadNotify.com.


And then we shall be using the information on the Complaints about Ofcom page of the Ofcom website, to make a complaint about Mr Williams’ interfering with the localised competitiveness of the Communications Industry in Wales.

How, seriously do we expect Ofcom to take this complaint?

Based on the actions of the most senior person in Wales, it seems unlikely to get much of a hearing to be honest. If this level of corrupt behaviour is prevalent by the Director of Wales, it seems a fair extrapolation that this is considered acceptable behaviour.

# # #

Started by Welsh Broadband industry professional Richard Brown (previously a founding director of exwavia Limited).

--- End ---

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Source:Wispa Limited
Phone:0844 884 2233
Zip:SY16 4EP
Location:Newtown - Wales - United Kingdom
Industry:Technology, Internet
Tags:Adsl, Broadband, Digital Delivery Plan, Digital Wales, Next-gen, Ofcom, Rhodri Williams, Wales
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