That Was the Year That Was (2013): Vicki Nash, director, Ofcom Scotland

GOOD year, bad year? As 2013 draws to a close, we ask Vicki Nash, director of the Scottish division of broadcasting regulators, Ofcom: ‘How has it been for you?’.

Briefly, what is it that you do?

I head up Ofcom’s engagement in Scotland, with the Scottish Government and Parliament and stakeholders across all the sectors. We regulate broadcasting (TV and radio), telecoms (fixed, mobile and broadband) and post.

Choose three words that sum up 2013 (so far), from a professional point of view.

Busy, changing, fascinating!

In 2012, what was your biggest professional ambition for 2013, and to what extent did you achieve it?

We’ve been working for a few years now planning our work for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Ofcom is responsible for managing spectrum for the Games, in accordance with the UK and Scottish Government guarantees.

Nearly 3,000 accredited media will descend on Glasgow between July 23 and August 3 for the Games, bringing with them an unprecedented need for spectrum – the wireless infrastructure that underpins all forms of mobile communication.

Demand will be fuelled by the increasing use of wireless technologies by broadcasters, such as wireless cameras and wireless microphones, which will deliver dramatic and close-up action coverage to a potential global audience of over a billion people, worldwide.

We’ve just published our final plans for ensuring that the spectrum demands for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are met.

The proof of the pudding will be next July-August.

How has 2013 (so far) been for you, personally.

Good! Despite the demands of the job, I still managed to fit in time with family and friends and for swimming, some birding ‘firsts’ (spotted flycatchers in the garden) and a great week’s trip to Poland singing with the very wonderful City of Glasgow Chorus.

Any changes this year in technology, legislation, the economy, etc that have had a relatively significant impact on the business?

The recent auction of 4G licences will extend coverage far beyond that of existing 3G services, covering 98 per cent of the UK population indoors – and even more when outdoors – which is good news for parts of the country currently underserved by mobile broadband, and with one licence providing indoor coverage of at least 95 per cent of the Scottish population.

And it was good to see our 2013 Communications Market Report for Scotland showing Scotland catching up in its use of various digital technologies (smartphones and tablets, etc), although the number of households in Glasgow with fixed broadband still flatlined at 50 per cent. There’s a big focus required here for all public agencies if everyone is to reap the benefits of digital technologies.

What looking forward to, in 2014 – personally and professionally?

Personally, I hope to do more singing. Professionally, continuing to work on the 2014 Commonwealth Games with a great Ofcom team. On the broadcasting front, I’m looking forward to seeing the launch of the Channel 3 re-licensing settlement bed in with more public service content for Scottish viewers in the Border licence area as well as the launch of local TV services in Glasgow and Edinburgh.