In the world of digital infrastructure it’s clear that we’re moving into a new environment, after a period where the Superfast agenda resulted in nearly all the public funding going to one big player. Now, driven perhaps by frustration in rural areas and by investment opportunities in cities, we are seeing the accelerated development of alternative networks and services and new players entering the market. New solutions are emerging at scales ranging from community ‘crowd-funded’ projects, private commercial operators in villages and towns and public companies developing ‘Gigabit Cities’.
In the public policy arena, there is growing awareness that “Superfast is not enough” and probably not the ‘end-game’. The government’s Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy looks towards the development of “Ultrafast services” and proposes new financing mechanisms such as the UK Infrastructure Guarantee Scheme to support investment in new networks. The recently announced Ofcom review of Digital Communications, the first formal review for 10 years, and the increasingly strident calls for BT Group to be broken up from key industry players such as Sky, Vodafone (both INCA members) and TalkTalk point to concerns that the existing industry structures may not be ‘fit for purpose’ in the long run.
Cities across the UK are actively seeking their own solutions as they fear being ‘left behind’ in comparison with nearby competing economies, where, for example businesses in Stockholm can buy symmetric gigabit connections for €25 per month. The SuperConnected Cities programme, after a slow start, has become more interesting - with the use of vouchers for group schemes in business parks for example - and businesses are more aware of the financial and operational benefits of better digital connectivity. As business becomes increasingly digital, as more public services are delivered online and as we all seem to depend more on our connected technology, the infrastructure becomes even more critical to our economic success and social wellbeing in both urban and rural areas.
The Transform Digital events in Bristol on 15 and 16 September 2015 offer fantastic opportunities to explore the changes that are happening right now and to get insights and answers:
- What’s the difference between superfast and ultrafast and what does it mean?
- What sort of digital infrastructure do we really need and are we building it fast enough in our urban and rural areas?
- What should the new Government do to help the market invest in the digital infrastructure of the future?
- What regulatory actions and regimes are needed to ensure that the UK has infrastructure that is ‘fit for purpose’?
Join us on 16th September for the Transform Digital: Bristol conference
Chris Townsend, Head of BDUK heads the speaker list alongside leaders from industry, the public sector, and community broadband schemes.
Delegates will discuss:
- The Rise of the Gigabit Cities - Urban projects led by companies like CityFibre, Hyperoptic, ITS and UK Broadband. How the new infrastructure fits into the Smart City agenda, economic development and the need to create jobs in the CDIT sectors
- Superfast and Beyond - Rural schemes like B4RN and Cotswolds Broadband alongside private sector players like BT, Gigaclear and wireless/satellite providers delivering services in the hardest to reach areas. We have invited BDUK to participate and help shape this part of the agenda
- Digital Business - Innovation and the impact of high speed, low cost, symmetric networks on the development of businesses in the digital and creative sectors and SMEs more widely. Connecting business parks and enterprise zones. Expansion of the Super-connected cities voucher scheme
- Driving Demand and exploiting the wider benefits of new digital infrastructure for service providers and the consumers and businesses they serve
- Investing in Digital Infrastructure - models that are succeeding at getting new investment in both urban and rural areas - Virgin Media’s investment is encouraging other investors in digital infrastructure.
- The New Minister’s In-Box - the big issues for Government over the next 5 years.
Register promptly to get the Early Bird discount (prices increase by £50 per person from July 1st). INCA members benefit from a 25% discount on both early bird and standard rates (members will be provided with a unique discount code). A small number of free places are available for delegates from unfunded community broadband projects. Please send email to email@example.com to request a free place for your organisation.
Prior to the main conference programme on September 16, we are running a complementary programme of related events throughout September 15:
1. Better Broadband for Bristol Businesses
15 September, 09:30-12:00, @Bristol, Free
Led by Bristol City Council and INCA this workshop is a great opportunity to find out how to get financial support for better broadband. We will discuss the connection voucher scheme, the benefits of better broadband for small businesses, the suppliers that can help businesses connect and how to apply to the scheme.
Geared towards: Owners & Managers of small businesses interested in improving their broadband services, technical specialists, business connectivity suppliers.
2. INCA Technical Showcase
The Art of the Possible: How to Build a Better Network
15 September, 14:00-17:00, @Bristol, Free for conference delegates (otherwise £50 + VAT)
This showcase will be a series of presentations, educational segments, case studies and roadmap sessions from a range of companies who can help anyone interested in investing, designing or building a Next Generation Broadband infrastructure – ‘Superfast’ and ‘Ultrafast’. We will discuss what these terms mean in practice and give an end-to-end view of the individual components required to create a successful project.
Geared towards: Local project promoters, funders, technical and business consultants, policy-makers.
3. 3D Data Visualisation and Planetarium
15 September, 18.00 - 18.45
All conference delegates are invited to an exclusive show at the newly refurbished planetarium where they will be treated to the UK's first 3D planetarium show and data visualisation dome. The planetarium's system is powered by 17 computers driving two 4K resolution projectors, and for data visualisation purposes is hooked up via a 100Gbps fibre link to a supercomputer at Bristol University.
4. Pre-conference Dinner
The Riverstation, The Grove, Bristol BS1 4RB www.riverstation.co.uk £84 per person
Join us for dinner on the evening of September 15th at Bristol's Riverstation restaurant.
If you are planning to stay overnight in Bristol around the conference, this list of local hotels might be useful.
|Standard Delegate fee (£195 + VAT)||£ 234.00|
|Additional Conference Options|
|Sept 15 morning: Better Broadband for Business||£ 0.00|
|Sept 15 afternoon: INCA Technical Showcase||£ 0.00|
|Sept 15 evening: 3D Data Visualisation/Planetarium||£ 0.00|
|Sept 15 evening: Pre-Conference Dinner (£70 + VAT)||£ 84.00|