Many thanks to all who helped make INCA’s Annual Conference in November such a great success. We had 250 registered participants, a topical agenda, excellent speakers, very supportive sponsors and great feedback from the event.
For many the highlight of the Conference was the debate between Clive Selley of Openreach and Greg Mesch of CityFibre. A competitive environment for infrastructure investment means just that – competition – but that brings its own challenges. Other highlights included Ronan Kelly’s opening presentation, James Heath discussing FTIR and Clive Carter discussing Ofcom’s evolving approach. It was genuinely a conference that marked an important step along #TheRoadAhead to a Full Fibre and 5G future. For more video from the conference see our Youtube channel.
At INCA's AGM on 5th November members received INCA’s accounts, elected the board and passed a resolution to change the rules. We welcomed Adrian Wooster of Gigaclear returning to the board. We also thanked board members who stepped down, Kate Rennicks and Michael Armitage, and wished them well in the future.
INCA's board members for 2019 are:
Rob Leenderts (NGIS), James Saunby (Greysky), David Cullen (ITS Technology Group), Dana Tobak (Hyperoptic), Daniel Heery (Cybermoor), Lloyd Felten (County Broadband), Vassilis Seferidis (Zeetta Networks), Henry Nurser (BluWireless), Mark Collins (CityFibre), Matthew Hunter (HellermannTyton), Andrew Glover (Bridge Fibre/Air Broadband), and Jeremy Sheehan (Axione).
Change of Rules
The AGM approved a new set of rules for INCA which update our previous rules. As a co-operative association we use model rules developed by Co-operatives UK, the national association for the co-operative sector. INCA’s membership has grown rapidly and one of the reasons for the change is to reduce the quorum for General Meetings from 33% of members to 25%. Other provisions include a process for 1/3 of board members to stand down at the AGM (they can of course stand for re-election) and for co-options to the board.
INCA’s search for a new chair culminated in interviews with three very good candidates. Unfortunately neither the interview panel, nor the board felt that one candidate had a decisive advantage over the others. Consequently Rob Leenderts was asked to stay in the chair for the next period whilst the board considers options. James Saunby was re-elected Vice Chair, along with Adrian Wooster who takes board responsibility for INCA strategy.
The INCA Awards Winners
Our first Awards Dinner was a great success with about 100 people participating. Our first set of ‘INCAs’ were awarded to the successful nominees as judged by an independent awards panel. The winners of the first INCAs were:
1. Technical Innovation: Broadway Partners
Broadway is delivering a rural broadband solution using TV Whitespace. Judges felt it was a good example of taking lab research into the field in an innovative a pioneering project.
2. Commercial Innovation: Tameside MBC
Tameside developed the Digital Infrastructure Co-op - enabling public sector bodies to share and commercialise duct and other passive assets. Judges said this ticks all the boxes - it’s a collaboration, it's innovative - an exemplar model, that scales, delivers for customers, viable commercial model. A great example for other authorities.
3. Urban Impact: KCOM
Judges said that KCOM have put the in the hard yards and will get to 100% full fibre coverage next March - which is very impressive. They showed evidence of the impact of this work including TechNation status, 7000 tech jobs created last year. Incubator for digital startups, £400m added to the economy. Testimonials from engineers, home workers etc. A great regeneration project.
4. Rural Impact: Lothian Broadband
Judges said, It's about impact - social and economic impact. This mainly rural broadband business has 900 customers, including 250 businesses. They showed businesses moving into area, farm connections, agri-tech. Testimonials included an estate agent saying that house prices have increased because of Lothian’s work.
5. Best Community Project: Balquhidder Community Broadband CIC
Judges were very impressed with the innovation, impact and collaboration involved in this Balquhidder project. It is up and running and delivering impact now. The shared costs, drawing on public funding and Bogons ISP, volunteer digging, make it a great example of community collaboration.
6. Best Public Sector: City of London Corporation & London Law Society
The City of London and London Law Society have developed a standardised wayleave to make it easier to deploy new digital infrastructure. Judges applauded the collaboration with RICS, the London Mayor and other organisations. The potential impact is a standard wayleave used across UK.
7. Outstanding Contribution - Organisation: Hyperoptic
Amongst the altnets the judges felt that Hyperoptic’s impact, challenge to BT, the investment it has attracted, national aspiration, and service innovation make the company outstanding in the sector.
8. Outstanding Contribution - Individual: Simon Wade, Emtelle
Simon was nominated independently by four separate organisations for his commitment and support for new fibre deployments. Judges felt that this deserved a special category of award and that Simon was a worthy winner.