Voice and Broadband

Broadband infrastructure provides the vital underpinning connectivity over which the UK’s communications run. Access to business-grade broadband is not just a ‘nice to have’; it is the very core enabler for the kind of efficient, flexible and internationally-connected enterprises which policy-makers of all complexions understand represent the future of UK plc. FCS policy is to ensure high-quality infrastructure is available for professional communications providers. It is based around five fundamental principles:

Free and competitive markets:

Campaigning for competition on an exchange by exchange; sub-loop by sub-loop basis and the availability of business-grade broadband infrastructure (which may well mean upload speeds in excess of download speeds).

Transparency of competition:

Questioning whether BT/Openreach should be allowed to create a de-facto monopoly which dictates which cabinets will and will not be fibre-enabled, and what the balance of upload/download speeds will be.

Equivalence of Access:

Pushing for transparent procurement and local competition in the state-subsidised ‘final third / final 5% / final 3%’ fibre roll-out. Building alliances between Communications Providers and local fibre infrastructure specialists to deliver business-friendly solutions to commercial premises. Challenging fibre roll-out figures which conflate the availability of services to consumers with the availability to professional users.

Regulation which recognizes the distinct nature of the business-to-business market place:

Spotlighting the discrepancies between high-speed broadband access at business addresses with that on nearby housing estates. Campaigning for a wider universe of providers and a wider choice of service provision tailored to the needs of e-commerce and business transactions rather than consumer gaming and content downloads.

Industry best practice, where the industry itself sets the appropriate performance/ quality levels:

Working alongside policy-makers, industry and small business lobbying groups to challenge the status-quo consumer-biased product offer. Brokering common approaches to service provision, shared ownership infrastructure models and end-of-life and recycling/reuse obligations.

INCA

Independent Networks Cooperative is opening up new alternatives to state-aided BT broadband.

SEAS

Broadband Stakeholders GroupThe BSG provides a powerful focus for industry concerns about quality and regulation.

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