Policy Work

In its role as trade association for independent networks one of INCA’s key tasks is to work with members on the public policy and regulatory agendas.

INCA responds to Government and Ofcom consultations - the responses can be found on these pages. We also run a Policy & Regulatory Special Interest Group that acts as a focal point to gather member views. For more information or to get involved please contact info@inca.coop

Monday, July 17, 2017 - 16:53

INCA recently submitted reponses on two Ofcom consultation exercises in relation to the Wholesale Local Access (WLA) market.

Ofcom's Wholesale Local Access Market Review, which ran from March 31 through to June 9, sought views on the regulation of this market. INCA's full reponse is available here.

As part of this broader review Ofcom also sought input on a number of specific areas, including duct and pole access remedies, which – given INCA members' interest – also prompted a response, which you can read here.

Saturday, February 4, 2017 - 16:38

INCA has responded to the DCMS Consultation on Extending Local Full Fibre Networks.

Rather than going over ground that our members have highlighted in their responses, or re-iterating the points made in our report Building Gigabit Britain, we have instead focused on some general points about how different approaches can deliver excellent results in terms of coverage - with examples from the UK and overseas. We also emphasise that full fibre does not just mean fibre to the premises, it also means fibre to the wireless network. The new Government policy is to support the deployment of Full Fibre and 5G networks. We think it important that providers of both fibre and wireless networks can benefit from new policy and funding approaches.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016 - 06:00


The past few years have seen a flowering of businesses building new digital networks in competition with BT. They provide pure fibre networks (Fibre to the Premise (FTTP)), fixed wireless networks (FWA), hybrid networks and satellite broadband services. They operate in urban and rural areas and have a range of business models. However, none own a copper phone network and, with limited exceptions, they do not rely on state aid. Instead they use commercial investment to build brand new networks and establish close relationships with the communities they serve. These companies are INCA’s members – the Altnets.

Extensive FTTP, with complementary wireless networks, is fundamental to the UK’s future success. Building Gigabit Britain presents a comprehensive overview of the benefits of investment in pure fibre networks, as well as comparisons between the performance of FTTP and other technologies, such as G.fast,...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 - 17:15

Ofcom's Initial Conclusions from the Strategic Review were published in late February. The push for more infrastructure competition to BT is a significant shift of emphasis, as is the objective of getting much more FTTP.

Last year international commentator Benoit Felten made the point that if government policy supports a major upgrade to the telecoms infrastructure there are really only two choices: either structurally separate the incumbent to create a vehicle that can be mandated (and financed) to deliver the new infrastructure, or support competitive investment. The Strategic Review shies away from breaking up BT in favour of competition, though structural separation will be held as a lever in reserve. The plan is to transform OpenReach...
Thursday, February 25, 2016 - 12:37

INCA’s Chair David Cullen of ITS Technology Group authored our response to BDUK’s consultation on the new state aid rules. We were very pleased to see the emphasis on more competition for future BDUK contracts, procurements scaled to enable a wider range of suppliers to bid and the ability for local bodies to consider different funding mechanisms. We are planning to hold a joint seminar with BDUK to discuss the new rules with INCA members and others once they have been agreed with the Commission. Contact Gill Williams for more information.

INCA has submitted our response to the recent consultation carried out by Broadband Delivery UK.

Friday, July 10, 2015 - 13:07

Why Government Should Get Behind the Independent Networks

by Malcolm Corbett, CEO INCA
When officials in Berkshire planned their extension to the local BDUK superfast broadband programme they took an unusual step. Instead of simply using the national supplier framework - i.e. BT - they decided instead to run an open procurement. They divided the county into lots and went out to the market for responses. BT elected not to bid, but several independent operators were happy to get involved. At the end of the process Gigaclear and Callflow Solutions were selected for projects covering rural West Berkshire and parts of Windsor and Maidenhead. 
Gigaclear will deliver 11,700 fibre to the premises (FTTP) connections offering ultrafast services of up to 1Gbps. As a result rural...
Friday, October 3, 2014 - 20:20

INCA submitted a response to the recent DCMS Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy Consultation:

We’re Only Going to Do This Once

INCA’s response to the Government’s consultation exercise on Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy is unashamedly forward looking and positive. Reflecting the fact that none of INCA’s members own an old phone network, we say:

"Many INCA members view their activities as building the digital communications networks of the future: high capacity, symmetric and affordable. We term these ‘Transformational Digital Networks’. As yet no significant limitations to bandwidth have been found for fibre networks. Capacity on wireless networks is growing all the time (with some caveats on available spectrum and other factors). Fibre networks being built by companies like CityFibre, Hyperoptic,...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 13:09

Louise Lancaster, INCA's Policy Advisor recently met with Valuation Office Agency to discuss their proposals for wireless ISPs.

This is Louise's note of the meeting:
This potential new NGA method of valuation/ rates assessment is principally, but not necessarily, aimed at the state funded "white area" projects. The reason the VOA are considering an "NGA" scheme for rural wireless projects is not because they want to tax something that hasn't been taxed before, but because if they use the normal scheme for masts and radio stations (i.e. practice note 860) for certain rural projects, they'd come up with a Rateable Value which would be unfairly high. Also, there is a lack of evidence and a lack of comparable values for such projects on which to base an assessment. So, as they did with fixed NGA networks, they are looking to find a solution for rural that is more palatable and is based on actual costs and rents (by rents they include the value /...
Monday, April 1, 2013 - 16:08

DCMS has undertaken a consultation with potential suppliers to Urban Broadband Fund projects. The consultation focused on the principles, models and options being considered within the fund. Download INCA's response here.

The programme started with big ambitions, with expectations that funding would be aimed at kickstarting FTTH and high speed wireless connections in gigabit 'digital districts' and support economic and digital inclusion objectives. INCA members have expressed concern that these big ambitions are being gradually whittled down to a process of FTTC in­‐fill, wireless concessions and end user vouchers that at best will help get BT’s ‘fibre on demand’ service off the ground. Whilst good for the incumbents' current businesses, this will not create the sort of ground-­breaking projects we are seeing in urban centres in Europe, North America and Asia.

INCA's response...
Monday, February 25, 2013 - 10:41

In January an INCA team met Maria Miller MP, Secretary of State at DCMS. Our aim was to explore with the Secretary of State how Government can encourage a more competitive landscape for next generation infrastructure provision, leading to greater levels of private and community investment, backing up state investment. The backdrop for the discussion is the lack of competition in the main BDUK programme, the anticipated high level of state aid 'intensity', plus the need to do more to ensure that deeply rural areas don't get left further behind.

The meeting was very productive with the Secretary of State emphasising her commitment to competition and agreement that INCA should provide input on how Government can help the non-incumbent sector to develop and invest.

INCA has subsequently put forward a set of proposals based on several months research...