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Policy

Recent INCA policy work.

  • The telecoms infrastructure in the UK is going through a massive programme of investment to upgrade the old copper wires connecting our homes and businesses to full fibre optic cables. Alongside BT and Virgin Media, the alternative network providers, colloquially known as Altnets, are making a huge contribution to this digital transformation. Altnet investment is providing the future-proofed digital infrastructure needed for a successful 21st century economy and society.

  • Image of report coverINCA has launched it's annual 'State of the Altnets' report for 2024 today at the Connected North conference in Manchester. With the full title 'Metrics for the UK Independent Network Sector' the report, produced in partnership with Point Topic, sets out a series of key figures which illustrate the continuing growth and successes of the sector, alongside some of the central concerns occupying the minds of Altnet leaders over the last year.

  • Leading UK Altnets are taking action to ensure that the rollout of full fibre is not held back by inconsistencies in the availability of Openreach physical infrastructure. 

    Many locations across the UK are being removed from Altnet and Openreach plans because Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) is not available or is unusable. Altnets are frequently having to deploy new infrastructure which has caused concern amongst some local communities and is increasing the cost and reducing the pace of fibre rollouts. 

    A special interest group set up by INCA will encourage Altnets and others to share infrastructure to reduce the amount of street works and street furniture required to support the UK’s new full fibre networks.

  • Leading economics academic Professor Dieter Helm suggests, in his speech to delegates at the INCA Conference, that with the next Ofcom review of the Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market (WFTMR) on the horizon, the stakes are very high not just for the Altnet sector, but for the whole UK economy, and the current "soggy compromise" is not up to the required job of putting the industry on a stable long term path.

    Here is the recording of the talk delivered to INCA Conference 2023 by Professor Dieter Helm, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford.

  • BT is charging customers up to 29% more per month for the same broadband product in areas without infrastructure competition. A new INCA report out today shows how much the incumbent drops its prices when there are competing networks in an area.

    Government policy to encourage broadband infrastructure competition has transformed the UK from full fibre laggard into having the fastest full fibre network growth in the world. It is also delivering clear benefits to consumers in the form of lower prices, better service and greater reliability.

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  • 25% coverage in rural areas by Altnets should convince Ofcom to include ‘Area 3’ in its analysis of Equinox 2 pricing enquiry

    The benefits of competition in the UK’s broadband sector have been starkly illustrated by the latest annual review from INCA, which has been published today (17 May 2023). 

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  • More than 5.5 million homes and businesses in the UK can now connect to an independent fibre broadband network, according to new figures published today. For the first time, the total number of live connections provided by the ‘alt nets’ is above 1m. 

    Compiled for INCA by Point Topic using data provided by independent network operators across the country, this year’s ‘Metrics for the UK Independent Network Sector’ report shows that the sector has again doubled in size over the previous year.

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  • Following the arrival on the statute book in 2021 of the Telecoms Security Act, both DCMS and Ofcom have now launched consultations about the implementation of the legislation.

  • All AltNets are being encouraged to participate in this year's INCA/Point Topic survey assessing the development of the UK’s independent networks, ahead of what may prove to be a pivotal year for the future of the country’s digital landscape.

  • INCA has submitted a response on behalf of its members in relation to a recent Openreach consultation about planned exchange closures.

    Openreach plans to close approximately 4500 of its 5000 exchanges by 2030, and this programme could have a substantial impact on AltNets if the closure programme is not handled carefully. Our response to the consultation sets out a series of recommendations to mitigate this potential impact, not least that a much broader and open consultation process be commenced asa matter of urgency, and that Ofcom should establish and oversee the framework for this consultation.

    You can download the full response here.

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