Independent facilities-based service providers in the United Kingdom want the U.K. government to shift priorities away from hybrid fiber backbone distribution networks with copper drops to fiber-to-premises technology, along with measures to speed construction, raise capital and create incentives for faster fiber builds.
That would help fulfill Ofcom’s view that “a good long-term outcome would be to achieve full competition between three or more networks for around 40 percent of premises, with competition from two providers in many areas beyond that.”
The implication is that third parties (other than BT and a cable TV operator) would need to operate in about 40 percent of the country.
Given a “more supportive policy and regulatory environment,” INCA believes the independent providers could increase fiber-to-premises deployment by between 25 percent and 50 percent.
The plan does not call for direct subsidies
Among measures the group seeks:
- Creation of a broadband investment fund
- Modified or 10-year suspended taxes on “lit” fiber
- Ease “make ready” rules
- Ensure speedy access to ducts and poles, with streamlined permitting
- A prohibition on public financial support for “overbuild FTTP” facilities
- Encouragement of local government partnerships with service providers
- Universal service support awards that allow altnets to receive such support
- No use of universal service support funds where competitive networks are being built
INCA’s (Independent Network Cooperative Association) 2016 Member survey shows that “Altnets already pass more than twice as many premises with FTTP as BT.By 2020 independent providers believe their FTTP networks will pass nearly five million premises (18 percent of total locations). That would represent 1.5 million more premises than BT and Virgin Media’s planned FTTP builds combined.