Altnet investment is desperately needed to hit government connectivity targets, yet the regulator’s market review statement dismissed the sector's concerns. Deployment of ‘full-fibre’ broadband could be delayed if independent providers and their investors believe that the regulator is not willing to listen to their concerns.
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Following the recent apppointment of CityFibre's Head of Regulatory Affairs Alex Blowers to the role of Chair of INCA's Board, we're now pleased to publish this video interview with Alex, enabling him to set out what he sees as some of the key issues and priorities as we slowly begin to emerge from the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.
Each year INCA commissions Point Topic to survey the independent operators to assess investment, actual and planned network coverage, and important challenges the sector faces. As private investment by independent providers has steadily increased, with an estimated £8.8 billion being pumped into the independent gigabit broadband sector up to 2025, the focus of this year’s survey will be on how this investment will result in the scaling up of deployments and operations.
Indeed, Scaling Up is a key theme for much of our work this year, and our event programme is designed to explore multiple facets around the scaling-up agenda.
Building Digital UK has launched a Public Review in Cumbria. Following an Open Market Review which took place late last year, BDUK is seeking views from the public and other stakeholders with regard to existing or planned commercial gigabit capable broadband in Cumbria.
This consultation opens on 9th February and closes on 9th March 2021.
As far as INCA is aware this is the first project announced as part of BDUK's UK Gigabit Programme.
For further information and details on how to respond, go to www.gov.uk/government/consultations/uk-gigabit-programme-cumbria-public-review
Easier switching between broadband providers took a big step forward today as the regulator Ofcom published their statement in favour of “One Touch Switching” and the countdown to December 2022 for providers to become compliant with the new legislation.
INCA’s board has appointed Alex Blowers, CityFibre’s Director of Regulatory Affairs to be the association’s new Chair. Mr Blowers is undoubtedly one of the biggest hitters in policy and regulation in the sector and his appointment will add significant depth to INCA’s board.
Mr Blowers said, “INCA is the only association focused specifically on the interests of the vibrant independent sector of companies building the UK’s new digital infrastructure. INCA members are set to play a major role in achieving the Government’s ambitious targets for national coverage of gigabit-capable networks by the end of the decade.”
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.
Changes to the Government’s self-imposed target for delivering gigabit broadband to 100% of the country have taken broadband industry leaders by surprise. Confusion also reigned over whether the original commitment to provide £5bn of public funding for hard to reach areas had been watered down to £1.2bn
INCA Chief Executive Malcolm Corbett said, “The whole point of the Outside-In funding programme is to ensure that hard to reach areas don’t get left behind in this massive upgrade to the UK’s digital infrastructure. Build plans by Openreach, Virgin Media and altnet challengers have been ramping up, but we agree that reaching 100% by the end of 2025 was always going to be difficult”.
INCA held our 2020 Conference – #TheRoadAhead to 2025 – on November 3rd. With more than 150 leading movers and shakers from the sector participating across five main sessions, plus a keynote address from Matt Warman MP, Minsiter for Digital Infrastructure, the event was widely recognised as a great success.
We've now made available all of the key sessions from the conference as video recordings:
Session 1: Opportunities and Challenges for the Independent Sector
Session2: Achieving 100% Rural Connectivity
An INCA/Point Topic report shows over £1.76 billion worth of private funding related to the independent sector was announced between the start of 2019 and September 2020. These figures are on top of an estimated £5.7 billion of private investment-related announcements already made in the sector, bringing the total to over £7.6 billion. INCA CEO Malcolm Corbett welcomed the figures but warned against letting the momentum slow.