Thursday, July 29, 2010

INCA on Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) industry day


The Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) have published a useful report of BDUK's industry day on 15th July. The report echoes my views on the day, especially the way it was mis-represented by the media. A case of great minds thinking alike, clearly:
"Much media coverage of the event focused on the announcement that fulfilling the Universal Service Commitment will be pushed back from 2012 to 2015. But this would be to understate the messages in the Ministers speeches, messages that were amplified during the course of the day which described a very much more interesting and positive story. Rather than prescribing a centralised, top-down approach, the three ministers explained their vision of super-fast broadband by 2015. They admitted that they didn't have all the answers today, instead they laid out what they see as the Government’s role – to remove barriers, get Government departments working together and smarter, and create an environment which fully supports investment. They then described a partnership approach, laying out what help they needed from industry, local Government and community."
My thoughts on the day are set out in this previous post. There is a close fit between INCA's view and the government's proposals:
"The £200m previously pledged is essentially a “stake in the ground”; as progress is made the Government are prepared to increase funding as necessary, with a likely cap of £150m per year coming from the BBC licence fee. In addition, they will be seeking other sources of finance, from the EU for example, and are in talks with the European Commission to obtain a UK-wide State Aid approval to provide clarity on the ways public network infrastructure can be used. However, Jeremy Hunt emphasised the fact that the South Korean broadband programme was Government led but 95% privately funded, and that this is the model he expects to follow. The Government are proposing a national policy with a local approach. They hope that investment will be led from sub-regional level (possibly local authority or lower) with BDUK acting as central bankers and advisers to these local programmes. Around the local programmes they want to see “mid-level aggregation”. This is indeed the very approach that INCA has been advocating and INCA is looking forward to helping our members turn this vision into reality. There will need to be a structure which links BDUK with the local delivery groups, and there will need to be a function which enables the mid-level aggregation work for the existing industry. Both of these are current work programmes INCA is assisting in."
All good news, particularly in relation to a centralised approach to addressing State Aid approval for the re-use of existing public infrastructure. My thoughts on the opportunities such re-use presents are described here and also here.

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