Gigabit Britain will only be built with the active involvement of the independent sector. Our forthcoming report, due next month, on the state of the sector will set out more about the level of market share that the 'altnets' are likely to take over the next few years, but it's clear that the race is on. For homes and businesses and public sector services to benefit from a competitive national broadband infrastructure, the scale and combined capabilities of the UK’s altnets – and the growing capital invested in them and their fast-expanding fibre and wireless networks – is critical.
It is for this reason that INCA has adopted 'Scaling Up' as the theme underpinning and running through our activities in 2021. Our programme of webinars and conferences – with the active participation of network builders and policy makers – explores the issues, the opportunities, and the challenges as the country ‘scales up’ it’s broadband infrastructure in pursuit of ambitious government targets.
Throughout these events, participants are hearing from leading voices in the debate. Indeed, through this event programme and our other work on policy and regulation and our acitvities in support of our members, we are shaping the agenda. We kicked things off in early March with an event focussing on the rapidly growing demand across our industry for people with the right skills to accelerate the network rollout. The combined impacts of the global pandemic and the UK's exit from the European Union have contributed to a unique set of challenges for our sector, and the well received event discussed these and other issues as well as considering and shaping strategies to tackle the challenges ahead. INCA is now working with members, partners and government to take this forward.
This was rapidly followed three weeks later with 'Scaling Up Private Investment in Digital Infrastructure', bringing the builders and operators together with leading voices in the infrastructure investment community to assess the impacts of policy and regulatory decisions and looking at the prospects for further investment in a sector that is already seeing record levels of funding.
And as this post is published we've just wrapped up our 'Scaling Up Technical and Operations Conference', (video recording curently being edited) which has been really well received by the sector, highlighting as it has many of the leading edge innovations in our industry that will enable network designers, builders and operators to go further faster.
There's much more to come. In May the focus shifts again to look at how consumer value, service and choice are delivered, we’ll consider the implications and the potential of the growing shift towards wholesale aggregation, and the choices ahead for independent network operators. Our Access to infrastructure event (in late May) assesses the current state of play and what more needs to be done with respect to optimising the use of existing infrastructure, and in June we consider the vital role that the public sector plays in enabling the rapid deployment of new networks.
These threads and others will all be brought together in our November conference – hopefully our first face to face gathering in nearly two years – as we celebrate the successes and achievements of the year and look ahead to 2022 and beyond.