News

Recent news items from the Independent Networks Cooperative Association are listed below. Also in this section of the site we have brought together recent news and opinion from a number of respected sources, including SamKnows.com, thinkbroadband.com, and Adrian Wooster's influential blog.

Next Gen 14: Fast Track to the Future - Derby 11-12 November

INCA will be at the forthcoming NextGen 14 conference in Derby on November 11-12. We look forward to seeing you there. Register here free of charge.

Next Gen 14: Fast Track to the Future - Derby 11-12 November 2014

INCA is a NextGen Partner and will have a display at NextGen 14 in Derby. We would be delighted to see you there – this is a free access conference so please come and see us. For more information visit the Conference website here: http://www.nextgenevents.co.uk/events/nextgen-14-conference where you can view the programme and find the links to register.

 

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More on ... House of Lords Superfast Broadband Inquiry

 

The House of Lords Select Committee on Communications has published the written evidence submitted to its inquiry into Superfast Broadband. Download the full report.
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Broadband Delivery Needs to be More Inclusive

Broadband Delivery UK has announced their pre-qualification questionnaire for the new broadband delivery framework that local authorities will be expected to use when procuring local broadband services. INCA is concerned that the framework will exclude smaller, innovative suppliers and doesn't match our members' ambitions for delivering a truly next generation broadband UK.

 

The BDUK Framework PQQ for next generation broadband is an odd document. On the one hand it says BDUK wants to encourage small and medium sized enterprises to join in, on the other financial and other criteria clearly exclude all but a handful of large players. There are provisions for smaller companies to join consortia, but only if a consortium can be set up and ready to go in a month  - and that month is July.

The document also appears to redefine ‘superfast’ broadband as anything from 15Mbps to 50mbps+. The European targets for 2020 are for 50% of the population to enjoy 100Mbps and 50% to have 30mbps or over. So we could find up to £830m of public funding spent on networks that deliver half the minimum speeds of our European competitors. Previously government officials have said that superfast means anything over 24Mbps – meaning there must be at least some fibre, or high speed wireless, in the access network. BDUK seems to be stepping back from that ambition.

Fujitsu unveils rural fibre plans

Fujitsu today announced plans to work in collaboration with Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Cisco to deliver next generation internet services to 5 million homes in rural Britain.

typical rural location where NGA is likely to be challenging to deploy

The collaboration and subsequent Fujitsu build of a new superfast, fibre optic broadband network is a ground breaking and innovative alternative to BT Openreach and provides an opportunity for any community or local authority looking to access a proportion of the £530 million earmarked by the UK Government to drive investment in superfast broadband in rural communities.

The Fujitsu open access wholesale network will be underpinned by Cisco’s world leading technology. Virgin Media and TalkTalk intend to access wholesale products via this network in order to retail next generation services to customers in remote parts of the UK. The network will also be open to other service providers on wholesale terms.

Fujitsu’s vision builds on the company’s extensive experience in both managing telecommunications networks and in building next generation “Fibre to the Home” (FTTH) networks.

The Costs of Accessing BT's Infrastructure

It is clear that we need a sustained, inclusive effort on the part of industry, national and local government, and communities to move the UK to a next generation broadband future as rapidly as possible. Industry players, working with local communities, are developinng innovative approaches capable of delivering services more rapidly in both urban and rural areas. Reducing the costs of deployment is one of the keys to making the investment case work better. Where there is existing infrastructure it can help reduce costs, but inevitably, much of this infrastructure is in the hands of BT.

underground fibre-optic cabling and ducting

Serious concerns have been expressed by industry players, including INCA members, about the costs of accessing BT's infrastructure. We need to get this right in order to help create a genuinely competitive market and ensure we maximise the impact of public investment in next generation services. INCA supports the statements made in letters to Ed Vaizey and Ian Livingston and we are committed to working with our members and BT to find a workable solution as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Rural Broadband Funding Timetable

Independent broadband networks are delighted that the Government has announced its plans for the next round of next generation broadband funding, but keen to see progress on pressing issues affecting smaller players. Following on from Jeremy Hunt's funding announcement of £50m for the next round of projects, broadband Minister Ed Vaizey has announced the timetable for the next round of bids, anticipating requests for proposals during April and the announcement of the winners in May.

funding opportunities for NGA

Malcolm Corbett, CEO of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) commented, "This is great news for rural areas that often suffer from poor broadband services today and are at the back of the queue for superfast 'next generation' broadband tomorrow. INCA is working with a number of local authorities to help them develop viable projects, build stakeholder engagement and bid into this new round of funding. However there are some outstanding issues that we are keen to work with central government and OFCOM to resolve and make it easier for smaller non-incumbent providers to get involved."

Knotty problems that industry and government are working on include access to existing infrastructure - ducts and poles - that can reduce deployment costs, affordable 'backhaul' connections linking local communities to the Internet, and a business rates regime that currently acts as a barrier to rural broadband investment.

Hunt Speech Welcome But Still Some Way To Go

INCA has welcomed the Government's commitment to creating the 'Best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015'. It is a tall order, but an ambition that we can all get behind. The big players like BT and Virgin Media, plus the host of smaller innovative companies, public sector bodies and communities are all working hard to make it a reality. The Government's new strategy 'Britain's Superfast Broadband Future' and the Secretary of State's speech bring together many of the strands that we need to level the playing field and get competition going in the provision of next generation infrastructure. It is great that the Government has taken up the 'digital village pump' idea that has been put forward by a number of broadband champions and is a central feature of the Royal Society of Edinburgh's 'Digital Scotland' report published in October. This could go a long way to tackling one of the big problems with all rural broadband services - the costs of backhaul - the connection from the community to the Internet.

INCA Welcomes Jeremy Hunt's Ambitious Vision for Next Generation Broadband

On Tuesday 8th June, Secretary of State at DCMS, Jeremy Hunt MP made a very positive speech outlining his policies in media and technology (details and full text here).

INCA Welcomes High Profile Ministerial Appointments

Dave Carter acting Chair of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) and Malcolm Corbett INCA's acting CEO today welcomed the appointments of Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey, who will both be responsible for Britain's key technology issues.

Malcolm commented: "Jeremy and Ed have both been closely engaged and have a good understanding of the issues. We were delighted to welcome Ed to the NextGen conference in Leeds last year and look forward to continuing a positive dialogue over the coming months."

Latest INCA Newsletter

New Website Launched

The new INCA website goes live today at www.inca.coop. It contains information about INCA, its aspirations, who can join and how, planned activities and events.

The website is very much a work in progress and will be updated with news, case studies, a map of local projects, information about technical standards and policy documents. If you have comments or questions please contact Malcolm Corbett.

INCA Welcomes Government Commitment to Next Gen Broadband

The Independent Networks Co-operative Association welcomes the government’s commitment in the budget to support the roll out of next generation ‘superfast’ broadband in areas that are likely to be left behind by the market. Alongside major players like BT, independent projects all over the country are working to bring next generation broadband to their local citizens and businesses.

NextGen Events 2010

INCA will be running the NextGen events programme for 2010 kicking off with a series of four Roadshows from May until September, with an INCA membership event in June. These lead up to the annual national NextGen 10 Conference, set for November in Birmingham. The Roadshows will launch in April when registrations open. This year we’ll be visiting new locations and are working on an exciting programme with new partners. Click here to take you to the Events page.

Sewing Together the Patchwork

One of the key tasks for INCA is to work with those developing regional and local projects on the common technical and business process standards that help open networks attract service providers.

This work is being led by Adrian Wooster (read Adrian's blog) and Alexandra Jennings. The high level issues are being debated through the BSG COTS process (Commercial, Operational & Technical Standards) as well as more technically focussed groups like the NICC.