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INCA Conference & Awards Dinner 2019

The Road Ahead: INCA's 2019 Conference and Awards Dinner: photo speeding along winding country road

INCA Conference 2019

INCA’s 10th anniversary Conference #TheRoadAhead is being held at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel in central Manchester on 16th and 17th October. Featuring leaders from the digital infrastructure sector, policy makers, investors, a tech showcase, plus of course a highly informed and engaged audience, this is a 'must attend' event for all of us with an interest in digital infrastructure in the UK.

Since INCA's inception a decade ago we have consistently delivered high value high quality conferences and events designed to serve the needs of the sector, and this – our tenth anniversary conference – will be no exception. Our objective remains to get the right people in the room to discuss the key issues of the day.

Whilst we use the conference to celebrate our collective achievements over the year – and our Awards Dinner will do just that – the real thrust of the event is always about looking ahead, assimilating the impacts of policy and regulation, movements in investment, changes in technology, to shape strategies for the future.

The timing of this year’s INCA Conference comes at an opportune moment. We are one year on from the publication of the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review and we have a new government that may well demand an increase in pace from industry.

Conference Programme

The programme for the two day event is rapidly taking shape. The first day features three substantial workshops: a Tech Showcase highlighting some of the key innovations, an Investor Workshop focussing on what's happening from a finance and funding perspective, and a Rural Gigabit Futures session which will bring together all of the learning from our series of roadshow events around the country earlier in the year. The first day of the conference rounds off with our special Awards Dinner where we will celebrate the winners of the INCA Golds (below).


Day One (Oct 16)

11:00 - 16:30 (with a break for lunch) : Tech Showcase (in partnership with Mills Ltd.)

The always popular Tech Showcase on the first day of INCA Conference will feature leading operators and suppliers to the sector discussing the latest approaches to design, build and operation of new full fibre and wireless networks. Coordinated by INCA Chair Rob Leenderts and Pete Rothy of Mills Ltd. This session is ideal for people involved in the practicalities of new network development, those designing and commissioning networks, purchasing and contract management.

  • a detailed agenda for this session will be published shortly

14:00 - 16:30 : Rural Gigabit Futures : chaired by James Saunby (INCA and GreySky)

Government officials are working on plans to extend gigabit coverage to hard-to-reach rural areas as part of the ‘Outside-In’ approach favoured by DCMS. Through the Spring and early Summer of 2019 INCA ran a series of Rural Gigabit Future workshops around the country, in partership with local authorities, DCMS and operators, to get under the hood of local conditions and differing needs for improved connectivity. This workshop will be a great opportunity for an in-depth discussion about the government’s latest thinking with Carolyn Johnson of DCMS, and to bring together views from local authorities, operators and communities with everything that we learned from our programme of workshops.

  • Learning from the Rural Roadshow Programme: James Saunby
  • Policy & Funding: Carolyn Johnson (DCMS)

14:00 - 16:30 : Investor Workshop : Charles Cameron, Malcolm Corbett

This session brings together leading figures from government, Ofcom and the investment community to discuss building on the trend for competitive investment in new infrastructure. We'll be looking at policy and regulatory support in pursuit of challenging government targets, the appetite of the investment community for the digital infrastructure sector, and the needs of operators. This workshop will appeal to those wanting to gain a deeper insight into the evolving policy and regulatory position supporting competitive investment, with views from people at the sharp end of investing in new networks.

  • Government Support : Matt Agar (BDUK), Ian Dabson (HMT)
  • Regulating for Competitive Investment: Jonathan Oxley (Ofcom)
  • Key Perspectives : Khalid Naqib (Amber), Thierry Levenq (CEB Fund), Sean McLachlan (Aviva)


Day Two (Oct 17)

James Heath, DCMSDay two provides a full programme of plenaries, panel discussions and workshop sessions. James Heath, Director of Digital Infrastructure at DCMS is already confirmed as a keynote speaker, and he'll be outlining the state of play with respect to the FTIR.

Also confirmed are James' colleagues from DCMS Justin Leese (Programme Director, Building Digital UK) and Carolyn Johnson (Programme Lead, Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme).

From industry we have Catherine Colloms, Openreach's Director of Corporate Affairs and Brand, Alastair Davidson, Director of Wireless Infrastructure Group, and Wenbing Yao, Director of Strategy and Marketing with Huawei. Many more speakers will be confirmed in the coming days.

09:00 : Welcome Plenary & Introduction, INCA's First 10 Years

09:10 : UK On The Map - Digital Infrastructure Growth, Fibre & Wireless

A summary of the UK’s position in digital infrastructure and the vital role that the independent sector is playing with contributions from Malcolm Corbett, INCA, Erzsebet Fitori (FTTH Council Europe, tbc) and Oliver Johnson, Point Topic.

09:30 : Digital Infrastructure Policy Support - FTIR+1 : James Heath (DCMS)

Having set the scene we launch into the big policy debate. One year on from the Government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, and with widespread discussion of the Prime Minister’s ambition to significantly advance the full fibre timetable, James Heath, Director, Digital Infrastructure will provide an update on the current policy agenda. This will be immediately followed by reaction and debate with leaders of the sector, both independent operators and Openreach.

09:50 : Reaching the Targets - Can we get there? What do we need?

  • panel chaired by Vicky Read (CityFibre)

10:30 : Break

10:50 : Independent Operators - The Second Wave

The third session features leaders from the second wave of independent operators discussing their ambitions and approaches to delivering new services. This is a great opportunity to hear from some of the new entrants operating in a variety of markets with a variety of business models and technologies.

  • John Irvine, WightFibre
  • James Warner, Glide
  • Mark Stansfeld, Airband

11:30 : Workshop Session 1 - a choice of three parallel workshop sessions.

  1. Public Sector Support for Digital Infrastructure

    • chaired by Liz Harrison (Kent County Council)
    • Carolyn Johnson (DCMS)
    • Viv Collins (Welsh Government)
    • Duncan Nisbet (Scottish Government)
  2. Progress on Barrier Busting

    • chaired by Barry Forde (B4RN)
    • Ben Allwright (Flomatik)
    • other participants to be announced
  3. Labour & Skills - chaired by Caroline Kimber (DPA)

    • Matt Evans (BSG)
    • Graham Smith (Highways Electrical Association)

12:30 : Lunch

14:00 : Welcome Back - Afternoon plenary

14:10 : Digital Communications Transformation & Future Demand - Wenbing Yao (Huawei)

The afternoon session opens with Wenbing Yao from Huawei providing a global perspective on Digital Communications Transformation and Future Demand. Despite the controversy Huawei is the largest telecoms equipment manufacturer in the world and so is well placed to offer insights into global trends and future developments.

14:30 : Regulating for Competitive Investment - Markham Sivak (Ofcom)

The second afternoon session puts Ofcom centre stage. Regulatory policy affects the structure of the market, investment decisions and deployment plans. This session will discuss Ofcom’s proposals for future regulation with senior policy lead Markham Sivak, in conversation with an expert panel from the sector.

14:50 : Panel: Is Ofcom Doing Enough To Support Competition?

  • chaired by Andrew Glover (Bridge Fibre)
  • Alex Blowers (CityFibre)
  • Beth Wainright (TalkTalk)
  • James Frederickson (Gigaclear)

15:20 : Break

15:40 : Workshop Session 2 - a choice of three parallel workshop sessions.

  1. Converging or Colliding? Service Delivery in a Fibre-Wireless World

    • Jonathan Bremmer (Zayo)
    • Alastair Davidson (WIG)
    • James Body (Ch4lk Mobile)
  2. Mapping the Digital Infrastructure Future

  3. Trials and Tribulations - Lessons Learned for Future Funding

    • chaired by Daniel Heery (Cybermoor)

16:40 : Digital Infrastructure in the UK Economy - Chi Onwurah MP

The conference will wrap up with reflections from Chi Onwurah, MP, Shadow Minister, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

16:55 : Final wrap up


INCA Awards Dinner

Alongside the Conference, we take the opportunity through our INCA Golds awards programme, to celebrate the brightest and best in innovation and achievement in the sector. For more information about the Awards programme and to submit an entry, go here. The ceremony takes place at a special gala dinner on the evening of October 16 at the Mercure Piccadilly Hotel. Not to be missed.


Conference pricing

  • Non-member delegates: £350 + VAT (£420 inc. VAT)
  • INCA Member delegates: £280 + VAT (£336 inc. VAT)
  • Awards Dinner, per person £150 + VAT (£180 inc VAT)

Not an INCA member yet? Apply now and get the member rate on delegate passes. Tier One and Two INCA member organisations can claim free conference passes.


Sponsors and Exhibitors

INCA Conference has always delivered great value to the organisations that sponsor and exhibit at the event. If you have a project, a product, or a service to showcase, INCA Conference is definitely the place to be. Contact Gill Williams for details of the available sponsorship options. Don't leave it too late as we have a limited number of sponsorships available.


Image by Jiří Rotrekl from Pixabay

October 16th, 2019 9:30 AM  to  October 17th, 2019 5:30 PM

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Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel
Portland Street
M1 4PH
United Kingdom
Phone: 0161 7511 412
Conference fees
INCA Member delegate £ 336.00
Non-member delegate £ 420.00
per person £ 180.00

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