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INCA Response to Public Accounts Committee report

Today’s (Friday Jan 8 2021) report by the Public Accounts Committee highlights the challenges involved in meeting the Government’s gigabit broadband ambitions. Replacing the copper phone network with the full fibre and high speed wireless infrastructure of the future is a big project requiring co-ordination between government, industry, local authorities and other stakeholders.

The fast-growing independent sector of digital infrastructure providers is bringing in substantial new investment, focused on meeting the needs of communities across the UK, urban and rural. INCA, the association that brings together ‘altnets’, suppliers, local authorities and professional services firms, is committed to working with national and local government to help remove barriers to investment, support the development of funding programmes and highlight innovative new approaches that can speed up deployment and adoption. Critically industry needs certainty over public policy and regulatory conditions.

Malcolm Corbett, INCA’s CEO said, “The altnets have proved themselves over the past few years as a highly capable network of organisations tackling both large-scale city projects and sparsely populated rural areas. Government and Ofcom increasingly understand the value of the independent sector, and with more effective support the altnets can move even faster to help meet the scale of the challenge.”

"We share the PAC's concerns about rural areas being left behind, and that's why we are working closely with BDUK and Ofcom to ensure that the Government's revised "Outside In" strategy has the best chance of success."

INCA’s most recent survey undertaken with Point Topic showed that the independent sector attracted more than £1.7bn of additional investment during 2019 and 2020, bringing total anticipated investment in the sector is to more than £8bn by 2025. This is in addition to investment by BT in Openreach, and Virgin Media.