As government gets to grips with its promises on gigabit connectivity it will unleash a flood of policy initiatives and consultations in our industry. Indeed it has already started – previously log-jammed policies such as legislation on wayleaves, and new build gigabit connectivity have been joined by Ofcom’s Market Review – ‘Promoting investment and competition in fibre networks’ - plus other consultations, with a lot more to come.
As a sector it is critical that we influence the policy and regulatory environment. The quality and success of our interventions will help shape the future market and the opportunities available to INCA members. As a case in point INCA’s highly influential 2016 report ‘Building Gigabit Britain' was a major milestone along the route to the ‘full fibre and 5G’ policy led by Matt Hancock.
Helping Our Members Navigate the Regulatory Rapids
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 in-house. Most are not. In any case, with the torrent about to hit us, all organisations will feel the need for extra resource to get their voice heard in the policy and regulatory arena.
In response to this need, and in response to INCA member feedback, we are pleased to launch the new INCA Policy & Regulatory Affairs subscription service. Provided through INCA by two of the most highly 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 our sector needs.
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.
If any of the following policy areas impact on your organisation, you should consider subscribing to the new INCA Policy and Regulatory Service:
Upcoming Policy & Regulatory Issues
- 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.