Regulation & Industry

Consigned to Oblivion - What future for Insignia?

Fugitives commonly change their name in the hope of escaping justice. In 2001 The Post Office changed its corporate name to Consignia and adopted a new logo, which appears to depict the view down the barrel of a gun. The wisdom of changing a brand name that has been established since the days of Rowland Hill is unclear, but according to Consignia:

Our new name, Consignia, will support our moves in the wider distribution market and onto the global stage. However, we will continue to serve our U customers through our trusted brands - Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide and Post Office for our network of retail branches.

Two points can be made:

  • globally there are no other postal administrations called 'The Post Office'. Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US Postal Service have all attached their national identities to the word 'post' or 'postal' in their titles so there could have been no confusion on the 'global stage'; and
  • by long-established precedent British postal stamps d not include a national designation because they were first in the field. By analogy the UK Post Office could robustly have argued that it was the first organisation in the field named The Post Office and should therefore be known worldwide as such. It is extraordinary that the Post Office's managers abandoned the huge asset of this brand name in favour of one that is meaningless and, to the general public both in the UK and worldwide, unknown.

Read it here.

Broadband Britain

The government's vision of 'Broadband Britain' will never be achieved without fundamental reform in telecoms regulation. Broadband Britain: Finding a Way Forward says that broadband could become a major driver of wealth creation within ten years, improving education and business performance. Britain lags behind, 21st out of the richest 30th countries in terms of broadband penetration. The institutes points to the need for a more aggressive regulatory regime that will deliver a level playing field for profitability in telecommunications. Opportunities created by this will give BT and its shareholders the option to review the break up of the service into two parts. One for services (Servco) and another for network infrastructure (Netco).

Read it here.

Competition or Regulation?

Simon Read's report anticipated much of what Ron Sandler came up with in his official government review of long term savings. Read proposes that products rather than the advice process, should be regulated - as they are in every other market. He argues for a simplified and standard tax structure covering all sorts of savings and investments, and simpler products that will allow charging structures to be simplified and charges reduced.

Read full paper. 

Competition for the Phone

In approaching the decisions that have to be made in the forthcoming duopoly review, this paper argues that the UK should adopt the same approach that it has to other industries as they move towards more effective competition. The reduction in intervention, and the increased opportunity for market forces to shape companies throughout British industry, have transformed many under-performing sectors. They will be no less effective in the telecommunications sector.  

Read full paper.