The Chancellor's Spring budget is often used to provide eye-catching handouts for headline grabbing infrastructure projects. While today’s statement was light on new infrastructure spending, there are several existing areas of the economy looking for more of the taxpayer’s cash – the independent broadband sector isn’t one of them.
Over £20bn has been invested into the Altnets recently. But this injection of capital, which can have a transformative impact on the UK's digital landscape, must be protected by a regulatory environment which follows the Government’s stated policy aim of ensuring a continued competitive broadband market which provides a healthy level of consumer choice. Inaction against monopolistic behaviour like Equinox 2 – BT Openreach’s proposed pricing plan that will harm competition and raise prices for consumers in the long run – directly threatens the creation and maintenance of such a market.
An environment in which independent operators can flourish is the only way that the UK will achieve its goals of becoming a science and technology superpower, powered by ubiquitous broadband networks that match the demands of emergent technologies.