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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.

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

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.