[holding answer 9 March 2007]: The matter raised is the responsibility of the independent regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which is accountable to Parliament rather than Ministers. Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to reply directly to the hon. Gentleman. Copies of the chief executive's letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House
[holding answer 9 March 2007]: Two UK telephone operators have a Universal Service Obligation (USO); BT and Kingston Communications. USO providers are required to put in place special tariff schemes for vulnerable consumers. Affordability is a key criterion for the approval of such schemes by the independent regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom).