Telecoms want collaborative approach to FTTP Internet rollout
Openreach and CityFibre have stated that the Government’s FTTP high-speed Internet rollout can only be realised if telecoms and the Government work together. The two network providers also stated that the regulatory policy set up by Ofcom has to change so that it takes into consideration a collaborative approach, which is the need of the hour.
The UK Government is favouring the introduction of a full fibre-to-the-premises high-speed Internet infrastructure. While the UK telecommunications companies welcome this move, they feel that the targets for the rollout are unrealistic, and service providers will be unable to achieve these targets unless the regulatory policy, working practices and network builders are on the same page.
During a Westminster eForum event to discuss fast Internet strategy and policy, Catherine Colloms, Director of Corporate Affairs at Openreach, and Alex Blowers, Head of Regulatory Affairs at CityFibre, concurred that it is important that the UK’s digital infrastructure policy should be improved and amended.
Ms Colloms pointed out that Ofcom has mandated that BT and Openreach separate to ensure the latter’s independence, and this separation is ongoing. As Openreach becomes independent, it gives the network infrastructure company more freedom to collaborate with other companies. It has initiated a consultation with other communications service providers to figure out how full fibre-to-the-premises can be deployed in a better and more effective manner across the country.
She added that Openreach is looking at co-investment and risk-sharing models with network infrastructure providers, something that would not have been possible in the past.
Mr Blowers said that the Government’s plan to ensure that the entire UK is covered by a full fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure by 2030 is ambitious and will need collaboration between network builders to make certain that it is achieved.
He pointed out that simply depending on Openreach to provide the infrastructure will not allow telecoms to cover the whole country, and network builders also need to invest. This calls for collaborative models so that it is a win-win situation for all stakeholders.