Some of the practical impacts both on businesses and also the end consumer will be felt in the area of telecom provision.
Currently the licensing arrangements and regulator for the telecom industry is managed to OFTEL now part of OFCOM. There are responsible for all the telecommunications providers for the whole of the UK (including Scotland).
That means that the current suppliers of Landline (Primarily BT) and Mobiles (EE –Orange; EE – T Mobile; Vodaphone; O2 and 3 amongst others) are all regulated by Ofcom. When Scotland goes independent, issues relating to their contracts would need to be resolved and commitments made to the UK government covered as part of the negotiations.
- How would their performance be monitored and by whom?
- Scotland would have to apply to join the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) not an instantaneous process.
Some of the practicalities that would need to be addressed.
- Would Scotland continue using country code 44 or apply for a new country dialling code?
- What would become of the existing national dialling codes?
- Would “indirect telecom” suppliers such as 18866 or 1899 be allowed to operate in Scotland? If so would it be cost effective for them?
- What would be the call charges for Scottish users calling the rest of the UK
- What would be BT’s role in Scotland – would it have to set up a new company in Scotland or would the Scottish government set up a new National Telecom company?
- Would the Scottish government subsidise the rollout of broadband to the Highland and islands?
- What will be cost of “Roaming” in Scotland even though the mobile phone companies will be the same?
- Would the mobile phone companies be willing to carry on operating in Scotland?
- What would be the impact of a new currency on the willingness to operate a telecom company in Scotland?
It seems that the presentation of the justification for going independent has been, that nothing will change but Scotland will be an independent country. Maybe this is being naive, but surely by virtue of the fact that Scotland goes independent means that virtually everything will change. So the rosy picture presented by the SNP and the pro-independence movement is being exposed as a fairy story developed in the rosy minds of the pro-independence advocates!