INCA welcomes the measures announced on Sunday March 29 by the Government in agreement with the telecommunications industry to protect consumers during the COVID-19 international health crisis.
As well as news from INCA itself we are keen to include relevant news items from INCA members. Please send relevant items of news, ideally including a photo where relevant, to email@example.com. We'll publish news from members that we feel is of interest.
As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic we've set up a Members' Helpline to assist any of our member organisations who may be seeking guidance, information, or simply a friendly voice in these difficult days.
We can't promise to have instant answers to all of your questions, but we'll normally be able to signpost you to someone who does.
We're aiming to keep the phone line staffed from 10am through to 3pm every weekday. You can call on 0330 113 2070. You can also send email 24/7 to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are circulating the following information from DCMS to assist INCA members and other organisations in the sector in respect of the current guidance from Government:
The DCMS telecoms COVID hub has received several queries about the PM's statement. We have managed to get a few clarifications from Cabinet Office on a few points, which are set out below.
As the situation with the pandemic continues to develop at pace, the INCA team is keeping every aspect of our activities under review.
We are now moving all of our planned events online, and we're gearing up to deliver our usual high quality event programme using a webinar format. This approach better meets everyone's needs currently, especially for those of us who are self-isolating. In line with this we're signicantly reducing the price of participating in our events. Many thanks to our speakers and event sponsors for their continued support during this period.
Running events for the people in our industry has always been an important element of our work at INCA. In light of the current situation regarding the coronavirus epidemic we have developed the following policy statement which we hope will provide some clarity for our members and everyone involved with our events programme.
INCA Policy on Coronavirus and Events
As you know the Coronavirus (Covid-19) disease is causing serious concern around the world. INCA has a series of events planned during the Spring and Summer, through to our Autumn Conference and we see these as an important part of our operation in supporting our members' interests.
Our 2020 Events programme is well underway, with four main themes:
The Government’s ambition for rapid deployment of gigabit digital infrastructure focuses even greater attention on delivery. However, the challenges of streetworks management, wayleaves and planning are still seen by many as critical barriers to deployment and progress. Our first event in this series, highlighting issues around streetworks, was a great success with a sell-out audience in London on February 3. Subsequent events looking at the other key aspects of practical network deployment – namely Wayleaves and Planning are scheduled for May in Birmingham and July in Manchester. More details will be released as soon as we have dates and venues confirmed.
As government gets to grips with its promises on gigabit connectivity it will unleash a flood of policy initiatives and consultations in our industry. Indeed it has already started – previously log-jammed policies such as legislation on wayleaves, and new build gigabit connectivity have been joined by Ofcom’s Market Review – ‘Promoting investment and competition in fibre networks’ - plus other consultations, with a lot more to come.
INCA’s members are at the heart of our mission and purpose and we are fortunate to be part of a vibrant and growing sector. This is reflected in INCA's diverse membership, which includes both established and new altnet operators, suppliers, vendors, local authorities, consultants, and other groups that support our mission.
In the past few months we have been reviewing our membership benefits and fees, with the aim of enhancing the value of INCA membership to members old and new, and also to ensure that we can continue to provide a sustainable service to members. As part of this we're developing plans for further service improvements, of which a little more below. We are also working on an enhanced events programme for 2020 – more on that as move into the new year.
On behalf of our members INCA offers congratulations to the Prime Minister for his historic General Election victory. Our members welcome the clarity of the result and the greater certainty this brings. We look forward to working with the new ministerial team as INCA’s members continue to build the best possible digital infrastructure our country needs and deserves.
The Conservative manifesto reiterated Johnson’s pledge to deliver ‘gigabit capable’ networks throughout the country by 2025. This is a challenging target and INCA will continue working to address key issues including potential restrictions on labour supply, trade, busting through barriers to deployment and funding allocations with the new minister and officials.
Like everybody else we were caught by surprise by Labour’s announcement on Friday Nov 15 that if they win power they plan to create two new nationalised entities to roll out fibre and offer free broadband under the brand British Broadband. The first we heard about this was on Thursday evening in a text from a senior contact at Openreach asking if we had any knowledge on the subject. Nobody in the industry saw the policy coming – even BT and other large players like Virgin Media and Vodafone were blind-sided. As recently as the party conference BT were assured that they would not be a target for nationalisation. Our contacts in the Labour Party did not know about the dramatic policy shift.