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Policy & Regulatory Service

Helping Members Navigate the Regulatory Rapids

As government gets to grips with its promises on full fibre and gigabit connectivity it will unleash a flood of policy initiatives and consultations in our industry. Indeed this has already begun – previously log-jammed policies such as the legislation for wayleaves and for new build gigabit connectivity have been joined by Ofcom’s recent Market Review – ‘Promoting investment and competition in fibre networks’ - plus other consultations, with more to come.

How will INCA Members cope with this either individually or collectively? Some are large enough to sustain a full-time Policy & Regulatory Affairs officer or even a team. Most are not. In any case, with the flood about to hit us, all organisations will feel the need for extra resource to get their voice heard in the policy and regulatory arena.

Delivering High Quality Interventions

As a sector we need to influence the policy and regulatory environment through high-quality consultation responses, direct interventions with ministers, regular meetings with DCMS and Ofcom officials and responses to parliamentary inquiries. These activities should complement the work of our individual members. The quality and success of our interventions will help shape the future market and the opportunities available to INCA members – principally operators and their suppliers, but also the broader sector including funders, consultants and advisors.

In response to this need, and in response to INCA Member feedback, we are pleased to launch the new INCA Policy and Regulatory Affairs subscription service. Provided through INCA by two experienced operators in this arena: Political Intelligence and GOS Consulting – both well known to INCA and INCA Members – this will help deliver the high-quality interventions you need in this area.

For a low monthly fee, subscribers will get:

  • Membership of a reconstituted Policy & Regulatory group, meeting regularly face to face or via video conference.
  • The group will determine INCA’s policy and regulatory priorities in consultation with INCA’s board.
  • Group members will receive detailed, expert briefings on key policy and regulatory issues to assist with their own responses to consultations.
  • The group will discuss and agree joint INCA responses to policy and regulatory consultations, with access to expert support.
  • Group members will be invited to influential strategic events with key policy makers and regulators - e.g. round table lunches and dinners, which in the past have involved the Digital Minister, CEO of Ofcom, other key officials.
  • Access at a discounted member rate to both Political Intelligence and GOS if you have specific consultations or projects with which you need short-term extra help.

Subscribers get all this for a low monthly fee of £250 + VAT. Minimum subscription period is 1 year initially with 1 month notice thereafter. Fees are reviewed annually. A subscription to this service is bundled within the Tier 1 annual fee at no extra charge.

This is in addition to the core member benefit of the policy and regulatory briefing service available to all members on a monthly basis containing the key highlights that leaders in the sector need to have visibility of. This is a core activity available to all INCA Members.

If you are concerned about any of the following policy areas, then you should subscribe to the new INCA Policy and Regulatory Service. You can sign up to the service here, or contact us with any queries.

Upcoming Policy & Regulatory Activities

  • Outside/In - DCMS is developing plans for deploying £5bn of funding to support rural gigabit network deployment. Openreach are developing their ‘asks’. We need to ensure that the needs of the independent sector are fully taken into account as the process unfolds.
  • Ofcom Consultations – Ofcom has a full work programme for 2020/21 including encouraging investment in fibre networks – including regulatory segmentation of geographic markets, Gainer Provider Led Switching, delivering universal broadband, improving rural mobile coverage, spectrum sharing, facilitating the launch of new 5G services. Many of these will have a direct impact on the businesses and opportunities of INCA members.
  • Switching & Wholesale – We are constituting a group specifically to consider the issues around GPL switching (subject to Ofcom consultation) and wholesale aggregation.
  • Barrier Busting - much has been said, but as yet little real government action. This should change during 2020 with steps to addressing wayleaves and new builds. We are planning a series of INCA Barrier Busting workshops to help maintain pressure for action on key areas like street-works.

A Successful Track Record

INCA’s 2016 report ‘Building Gigabit Britain' was a milestone along the route to a ‘full fibre and 5G’ policy led by Matt Hancock. Our recommendations landed with an open-minded minister and are now largely being implemented. In 2020/21 we need to make sure that we have the collective horsepower for INCA members to fully gain the benefits of a policy, regulatory and funding environment built substantially on the basis of our efforts. Working with Political Intelligence (who provide the secretariat for ISPA amongst other associations) and GOS Consulting, together we have a great team to maximise our chances of success.