The government has outlined new strategic priorities for Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, with the aim of boosting mobile coverage, supporting investment in broadband networks and ensuring that consumers get a better deal.

Among the priorities set out are the need for Ofcom to ensure regulation in the sector is supportive of investment in reliable, gigabit-capable broadband networks, something that many homeowners and businesses can benefit from.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport secretary of state Jeremy Wright said that Ofcom had a “critical role” to play in helping the country achieve its “shared connectivity aspirations”.

“As well as ensuring the necessary improvements to broadband and mobile services, consumers must also be protected,” he added.

Consumer protection will in part by tackled by the focus on dealing with what’s known as the loyalty penalty, where customers who don’t switch providers as often end up paying more for their services as a result of their loyalty.

Rural areas are set to have a spotlight on them when it comes to mobile connectivity under the latest strategic priorities too. The regulator’s planned 700 MHz spectrum auction is expected to “materially improve” mobile connectivity around the UK.

Ofcom is also expected to explore the idea of introducing mobile roaming in rural areas where consumers have less choice over operators because of gaps in the network. 

Earlier this month, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) called on the government to invest more in improving digital connectivity across the country, which includes supporting the rollout of 5G services. Without this investment, businesses in the UK risk falling behind their counterparts from elsewhere in the world, the CBI warned.

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