Where FCS began
The Federation of Communication Services started life in 1980 to represent the interests of radio industry professionals and provide a common voice to deal with the (then) Radiocommunications Agency and Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications on matters of spectrum licensing and industry best practice. It also provided the platform from which the industry organised the annual Comex radio communications event.
As in-car and mobile telephony began to gain ground first with the business community and then with the general public, FCS expanded its brief to represent the nascent mobile reseller community.Many of these new resellers were entrepreneurial independent shop-keepers, making a living on the back of a new and booming market.
But swift growth and light regulation meant stories of dodgy-dealing and outright fraud swiftly became an issue which threatened the industry’s reputation. In response, FCS members initiated a code of practice and recruited a squad of industry inspectors to carry out spot-checks to ensure traders’ bona-fides.
The legacy of this work eventually span off as TUFF, the Telecoms UK Fraud Forum, operating as a stand-alone Specified Anti-Fraud Organisation as defined by the 2007 Serious Crime Act. FCS also retains to this day its relationship with the installers of in-vehicle mobile phones, and later hands-free car kits. These are the roots of the present day FITAS accredited installer scheme and the ongoing development of the MPT1362 code of practice for the installation of radio-frequency equipment into motor vehicles (Now FCS1362).
FCS continues to facilitate the mobile operators’ vital work around end-of-life issues and reducing waste to landfill. Originally this was the responsibility of the Mobile Take-Back Forum, which brought the phone manufacturers and mobile network operators’ technical specialists together with the recycling industry. The MTF has now been re-named the FCS Communications Environmental Regulation Consortium. It provides an industry-leading resource for all matters to do with end-of-life and compliance issues.
As British Telecommunications PLC was spun out of the Post Office and de-nationalised, FCS swiftly became the voice of the growing communications reseller community, bringing genuine competition to the UK communications market for the first time in its history. FCS’s involvement was both strategic, encouraging Oftel (now Ofcom) in its role as a proxy for competition, and tactical, getting intimately involved in the complexities of ensuring equivalence of access for non-BT resellers in the developing market for wholesale line rental.
Today’s FCS draws on the unrivalled experience of 37 years serving the communications industry.
As the voice of the Business Radio community, FCS still organizes the UK’s leading Business Radio industry conference and gala dinner every year. FCS is also guardian of the old MPT radio industry codes of practice, including MPT1331 (now FCS1331:2013), the all-important code for the quality of radio mast site engineering.
As the proprietor of FCS1362, FCS provides the industry-leading FITAS accreditation scheme for vehicle installers, as well as training and certification to Institute of the Motor Industry standards for the installation of digital radio equipment into vehicles.
As the secretary of the Communications Environmental Regulation Consortium, FCS is at the hub of industry best practice around environmental and compliance obligations, end-of-life and recycling responsibilities.
And as the focus of the vibrant communications reseller channel, FCS continues to champion the values of open, transparent and competitive markets — including encouraging new upstream competition to challenge the BT Group’s legacy monopoly over the nation’s copper and fibre communications infrastructure, and the Mobile Network Operators’ complex monopoly on mobile spectrum.