Downes named as first Scottish board member at Ofcom

Natalie Bannerman
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Bob Downes, chairman of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, has been named as the Scotland's first board member for Ofcom

Bob Downes 160 x 186Bob Downes, the chairman of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and of the Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems (CENSIS), has been appointed as the first Ofcom board member for Scotland.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to take on this new role at an important time for Ofcom, said Downes. “The communications sector provides essential services to everyone across Scotland and the wider UK – including to our most rural and remote areas – and is critical to the future success of the economy”.

The news was confirmed by Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the rural economy and Connectivity and a member of the Scottish Parliament, following a consultation with the UK Secretary of State for digital, culture, media and sport.

Commenting on the news, Terry Burns, chairman of Ofcom, said: “I am delighted Bob Downes has been confirmed as the first Ofcom board member for Scotland. His appointment is a further step in ensuring Ofcom’s board has voices representing consumers and citizens from across the UK. I am grateful to my predecessor, Dame Patricia Hodgson, for her part in securing this appointment. Board members for Northern Ireland and Wales will be appointed in due course”.

Downes enters the role with years of experience sitting on executive boards. In addition to his role at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and CENSIS, he is also a trustee of the Mackintosh Campus Renewal Appeal for Glasgow School of Art, and an advisor to a number of small technology businesses. Prior to this Downes was a senior executive with BT Group, Scottish Enterprise and the Conran-Roche Group in London.

“Bob Downes brings with him a wide range of experience that is highly relevant to Ofcom’s regulatory responsibilities. I am looking forward to working together as we deliver on Ofcom’s priorities”, added Sharon White, Ofcom’s chief executive.

In December, mobile operators Three and EE, lost their battle against Ofcom over caps to spectrum buying. It was in July 2017 that Three first decided to take the regulator to high court over the rules and EE followed suit in September. Commenting on the High Court’s decision, the regulator said: "We welcome the High Court’s judgment. Our priority has always been to release these airwaves as soon as possible so customers can get more reliable mobile phone reception. We’ll now proceed with the auction as quickly as possible."