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Consultations: DCMS, Ofcom, Parliament

There are a number of consultations which have the potential to affect our industry – some of them fundamentally. We encourage Members to respond individually with their views to each one. These may be from DCMS as policy-makers, Ofcom as the regulator or Parliament in scrutiny of Ministers / Departments and legislators. Ofcom encourage us to get these individual views as the number of views they receive informs their eventual opinion. Even a one liner is an official comment and must be taken into account.

Of course, as INCA we also do our best to respond to these with a consolidated view where Members wish.

If you wish to make a more detailed response and don’t have a full-time Public Affairs, Policy & Regulatory function in your organisation, you can make use of INCA’s new Policy and Regulatory Service. It’s a very low-cost way to access the latest information and gives subscribers access at special INCA Member rates to the best Public Affairs organisations with substantial experience in our sector.

Essential if you want to keep up with the fast-moving policy initiatives and regulatory moves impacting your business and its bottom line. Even more essential if you want your specific voice to be heard to protect your interests.

If we all act together, we can achieve much. Fail to act and you’ll let others decide the direction of your business.

URGENT - Draft response to Ofcom consultation on Openreach Monitoring Unit. needed by Noon Fri 30 Jul 21

The Openreach Monitoring Unit (OMU) conducts regular reviews of Openreach’s independence and performance against commitments and associated governance protocols.

INCA welcomes the opportunity to contribute to this review. The draft for your comment and how to respond to us is on this page.

INCA and Altnet reponse to Ofcom RfI on Openreach Equinox Offer - submitted 16 Jul 21

On July 16th 2021, INCA and the Altnets listed on the front page of this document submitted a response to Ofcom’s Request for Information (RfI) in relation to the new proposed Openreach discount scheme know as Equinox (the RfI response). A discussion was held with Ofcom including some questions they had for us. This doc is the formal written response from INCA and those Altnets.

Ofcom statement on GPL published 3 Feb 21 - consultation extended to 14 Apr 21

Ofcom says their "preferred approach" is for "One Touch Switch" which means the consumer simply has to contact the Gaining Provider to initiate the switch. As such, it is consistent with the work of the Option Y group. The consultation now starts on this statement. This was extended to 14 Apr due to an updated proposal from Option X Code to Switch which you can find here. The proposal now includes an IVR system so the consumer can request a Code instead of having to contact the Losing Provider in person. It is an open question if this is material enough to make Code to Switch into a GPL-compliant system and INCA is preparing a response. Please feed your views into the PRSIG or SWSIG.

Our specific page on this One Touch Switch consultation is here.

Our main section for Switching & Wholesale, which includes the work on GPL Switching, is here. Ofcom's Plan of Work 20/21 (consultation is open until Feb 21) states that the final GPL Switching statement (which should be after the consultation following the GPL statement we expect by end 20) will be made Q1/Q2 2021.

BT EAD and OSA surcharge imposition.

BT is introducing surcharges on its Ethernet access direct (EAD) and Optical Spectrum access (OSA) prices if those circuits are used to transport traffic from FTTP aggregation points. The surcharge more than doubles the annual rental for a 10Gbps EAD. BT is also planning to prohibit the use of the forthcoming DFA remedy (in Area 3) for FTTP backhaul.

Due to the serious financial impact on Altnets using, or planning to use, this as backhaul, a report and template rejection letter has been prepared. More info and download links on this page.

Code Powers Consultation list

A list of recent Code Powers consultations is maintained here.

Wireless Spectrum Management for the 2020s 4 Dec 20 to 26 Feb 21

Access to wireless spectrum is essential for our FWA members. We have been pushing for locaised / regional access to spectrum which would otherwise be an unused part of the national license bought by national operators. The Wireless Spectrum Management for the 2020s consultation does include localised spectrum analysis so if this affects you, please get in touch with INCA and also prepare your own response. We can assist as required.

Ofcom's Plan of Work 11 Dec 20 to 5 Feb 21

This includes sections on Investment in strong, secure networks (inc faster broadband); Getting everyone connected (inc hardest to reach locations, universal broadband service); Fairness for customers (inc GPL switching); Supporting and developing UK broadcasting; Preparing to regulate online harms; Strengthening Ofcom for the future; Developing new partnerships.Ofcom's proposed plan and consultation documents are here. If you have any views on this, please discuss with INCA so we can include them in our response. You may find INCA's Policy & Regulatory Service helpful particularly if you don't have a dedicated policy/regulatory resource.

OTA2 consultation on DPA - Dec 20 ongoing.

INCA was invited to participate in Ofcom’s CEOs DPA Industry Roundtable. Following the Programme Proposals discussed at the last CEO Group, Ofcom has now asked OTA2 to look at 4 of the 5 themes. If you use either Duct or Pole Access via Openreach, please give us your views so we can represent them in our work with OTA2  More information here.

Ofcom WFTMR further consultation 6 Nov to 8 Dec 20

Ofcom issued a further consultation on certain proposed remedies. Their documentation is here. This includes proposals on pricing for PIA, Dark Fibre, SEGEA also Dark Fibre implementation and basis of charges.

Ofcom statement on implementation of EECC and consultation 27 Oct 20 to 30 Nov 20

Ofcom have now issued a statement on implementation of the new European Electronic Communications Code and opened a consultation until 30 Nov 20. More details and a link to the statement / call for consultation are on this page. This new code, amongst many other things, is the one that includes the requirement for a Gaining Provider Led switching process for consumers. More info on this is in our dedicated Switching and Wholesale section.

INCA Response to Parliamentary CMS Committee 19 June 20.

The Parliamentary Culture, Media & Sport Committee sought INCA's input to their inquiry.The inquiry covers many areas from network resilience during Covid-19, how realistic is the 2025 polict target for nationwide gigabit connectivity, the Outside-in approach and other related subjects. This was submitted 19 June 20. The summary is here along with the downloadable full response.

Access to Infrastructure (ATI) - Government Review and CFE 12 June 2020

Did you realise you already had the right to access passive physical infrastucture operated by others: telecoms, energy, water, roads - anything? If there's a trench, duct building or mast you could use, you have the right to ask for access on fair and reasonable terms and get a response within 2 months. And you have the same obligation to respond to requests to use your passive infrastructure. There are some caveats - national security, for example and also if your network offers a suitable active wholesale product.

This regulation has been in place since 2016 but is not used as much as the Government hoped. Hence they are now consulting on how to get it more widely used and have issed a Call For Evidence (CFE). INCA is currently working on a formal response to this which is required by 4 Sep 20. More information is here.

Summary and assessment of Ofcom USO Funding Statement 22 May 2020

This consultation started on 5 Nov 19 and closed on 7 Jan 20. On 22 May 20, Ofcom issued its Statement on the funding process and the making of funding regulations under section 71 of the Communications Act 2003”. The INCA Policy & Regulatory Service Summary and Assessment is here.

Consultation: Promoting investment and competition in fibre networks – Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review 2021-26 (closed 22 May 2020)

This is of vital interest to our industry and its investors. If Ofcom takes the view that Area 3 is not served by a fibre network of sufficient scale, it will allow market support for the incumbent to overbuild existing independent networks. This is an existential threat to your business. INCA has responded on behalf of it's Members after consultation with them. The Exec Summary of INCA's response is here and you can download the full response from that page.If you need support for further input to Ofcom's mportand consultations and statements, INCA’s Policy & Regulatory Service is ready to help. Contact them for more details.

Consultation: Promoting competition and investment in fibre networks – BT Regulatory Financial Reporting (closes 24 April 2020)

This is of interest to those involved in the financial models of their network build or operate functions. It will affect how BT must report their figures to Ofcom. If you think there are things which should be reported or made more available, you should respond to this consultation.

Consultation: Fair treatment and easier switching for broadband and mobile customers – Proposals to implement the new European Electronic Communications Code (aka GPL Switching)

Although this has now closed, it is important background to the GPL Switching work which is going on with the OTA2. The latest report of OTA2 following the work of the Option X and Option Y Groups has gone in and the final touches are being put to the next submission. Ofcom will be consulting further on this in due course and INCA will be involved in that. GPL Switching will involve fundamental changes to your business processes so it is vital you keep up to speed.

The general Ofcom section listing their consultations past and current is here https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements.

The government’s view on the current situation on broadband, the future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, Universal Service Obligation, infrastructure projects and the various voucher schemes is at the BDUK site. BDUK (Building Digital UK) is part of the DCMS and is responsible for delivering broadband networks to the nation.

INCA maintains close links with BDUK and the DCMS. The “Full Fibre and 5G” policy was influenced by our detailed report “Building Gigabit Britain”. If you want to have your views represented at this level, you should consider joining INCA's Policy and Regulatory Service. Even those with a full time internal resource for this find the service a useful extra channel of communication.