Newsbreak: CTO Steve Unger leaving OFCOM

OFCOM logo 230Steve has earned respect for OFCOM’s technology ability. He’s leaving after 18 years, some of which he spent as acting CEO. Previously, he had been a world-class Astronomer and part of the boom time startup scene. He may be heading for business; his Linkedin now says, “I am looking for a new role where my skills and experience will let me make a difference.” Sounds like he doesn’t intend to become a lobbyist, like so many here in the U.S. Steve writes, “I really don’t know what I’m going to do next. I never planned to become a regulator, but I ended up really enjoying my time at Ofcom. So it will be interesting to see what turns up!”

Under Unger, OFCOM has done advanced work in spectrum sharing and network measurement. 

At OFCOM, Sharon White has shown she is able to stand up to BT, still a monopoly in half of Britain. She’s demonstrated efficiency in many ways, although auctioning mid-band spectrum is everywhere a mistake. Sharing spectrum will yield at least twice as much capacity as allocating spectrum to single companies, although that may not yet be politically possible. See FCC CTO: “All New Spectrum Likely To Be Shared”

White has been forcefully demanding fiber, important where there is no cable. Vodafone and other lobbyists have done a remarkable job convincing German regulators that only fibre can reach a gigabit and I fear OFCOM doesn’t see through that either. Over 60M homes can get a true gigabit or close on cable, a number likely to double in the next 18 months. I’ve just heard from John Chapman that Full Duplex DOCSIS is on track to deliver hundreds of megabits of DOCSIS upstream in 2020.  

Comments welcome as I fill out this article.

Here’s Steve’s updated Linkedin

Until recently I was an executive member of Ofcom’s Board. I have just stepped down and am looking for a new role where my skills and experience will let me make a difference.

I held various senior roles at Ofcom, including that of Acting Chief Executive. I have a number of achievements to my name, including a new 10-year strategy designed to drive investment in the UKs communications infrastructure.

Before becoming a regulator I spend several years in the private sector. I worked for a variety of high-tech startups in ‘Silicon Fen’, the Cambridge technology cluster. The focus of most of these companies was the commercial exploitation of new wireless technologies.

I have a good understanding of the technologies which underpin innovation in the communications sector. I have seen a variety of commercial strategies designed to exploit these technologies, and have substantial experience myself developing practical strategy. I have experience with complex negotiations, gained whilst representing the UK internationally.

I have a Physics MA and a PhD in Astrophysics

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