With the release of its first full annual report and accounts for 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2004, UK media regulator Ofcom reveals the challenges of its creation and transitional phases and sets out its aims for future operations with a bias against intervention.

Established under the government's Communication Act 2003, the industry body's role amalgamates those of previous regulators the Independent Television Commission, Oftel, the Radio Authority, the Radio Communications Agency and the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

Praising its setup period for creating a new organisation on time and slightly under budget, ceo Stephen Carter reveals that Ofcom is developing a self-assessment framework to measure its effectiveness for external accountability and internal management purposes.

The report focuses on the successes of its first three months in operation (beginning 29 December 2003), which include the development of a method for licensing new FM commercial radio stations and proposals to oversee the analogue-digital switchover in 2012.

Looking to the future, Carter says that the year ahead will see the conclusion of the Review of Public Services Broadcasting and the Telecommunications Strategic Review.

He predicts the regulator will face challenges in the digital broadcasting transition, and delivery of high-speed wireless communications and second generation broaderband services.

Chairman David Currie hopes Ofcom will meet the challenges according to its recently established principles of exploring other options before intervening and achieving the least intrusive means of regulating.

Opines Carter: "It is perhaps only now becoming clear what the nature, reach and scope of Ofcom's responsibilities are in practice."

For the full Ofcom annual report, click here.

Data sourced from: mad.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff