- Keynote speeches from Ofcom, ADTRAN, DCMS, and leading alt-nets including CityFibre fill agenda of INCA’s annual conference
London, UK, 3rd November – The alt-net sector will come together to consider the future of Project Gigabit this week, following a period of record investment in independent networks and amongst growing recognition of the role they are playing in levelling up the UK’s digital infrastructure.
At INCA’s annual conference, ‘Scaling up: Creating the Gigabit Future’, on 3-4 November 2021, independent network operators will share the floor with incumbents Openreach, regulator Ofcom and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). They’ll consider the progress, challenges and questions that remain on the road to achieving government’s target of making 85% of the country gigabit capable by 2025.
Dave Clarkson – Competition Policy Director, Ofcom will deliver a keynote on the second day of the conference, followed by a Competition and Regulation panel. This comes after Ofcom’s decision to clear the way for BT Openreach to proceed with its Equinox pricing plan, widely considered by the alt-net sector to harm competition.
“This is a crucial time for the independent broadband sector and we have seen unprecedented interest in this year’s annual conference. We have a huge opportunity in front of us to make a massive difference to the levels of internet connectivity in this country, but we also face challenges in the way the sector is regulated. All of which will be discussed over the two-day event.”, said INCA CEO Malcolm Corbett.
INCA research published in June this year showed that over 2.5m homes and businesses in the UK could now connect to an independent fibre broadband network, which represented over 110% year-on-year growth.
“The next five years will likely see phenomenal levels of growth and activity across the sector as the pace of deployment accelerates further. This conference will look back at the achievements and progress of the last year, as well as look ahead at the opportunities and challenges that lie in front of us,” Mr Corbett added.
The Conference runs over two days. The first day features a full-day programme on “Tech & Ops” – the tools and technologies used to design, build and operate state of the art fibre and wireless networks, and includes a technical showcase. Two other sessions – on the investment community and the BDUK Project Gigabit programme – will also run on the first day.
On the evening of the 3rd the winners of the ‘INCA Golds’ Awards programme will be announced during an awards dinner. Day two will continue the lively panel discussions, and breakout workshops focussing on a range of key topics. Keynotes will come from speakers including Imran Shafi, the recently appointed Director of Digital Infrastructure at DCMS.
Questions including ‘How will the wholesale market evolve?’, ‘How will one-touch switching, copper switch-off, and the move to all-IP impact the industry?’, ‘Are there actions that we can take collectively to tackle the need for skilled labour?’ and ‘What will emerge to become the key issues ahead as the alt-nets scale up?’ will also be dissected, debated, and discussed.
The conference attracts major players from across the sector and this year is sponsored by ADTRAN, Acome, Calix, Cambium Networks, Common Wholesale Platform (CWP), Commscope, Corning, Dura-Line, Emtelle, HellermanTyton, Huawei, Iqgeo, Mills, Packetfront, Sonalake, Comsof, Digpro, Esri, Jurassic Fibre, Netadmin and GOS Consulting.
Victor Zhang, Vice President of Huawei Technologies, said: “This year’s INCA Conference and ‘INCA Golds’ Awards highlights the important Gigabit broadband target by 2025. As a long-term contributor to the UK’s telecom operators, Huawei continues to support our broadband partners in reaching these ambitious targets and keep communities connected across the UK.”
Stuart Broome, VP EMEA Sales at ADTRAN said, “ADTRAN is proud to be the Platinum Sponsor at the prestigious 2021 INCA conference and awards. As a major contributor of fibre broadband technology and services in the UK, currently supplying over 70% of the Altnets, ADTRAN wanted to be part of this annual get together that allows the Altnet community to share their success stories. We believe the Altnet operators in the UK are transforming the rollout of XGS-PON and are also leading the way across Europe. We are just glad that we can join in with their success.”
Mike Knott, Market Development Manager at Corning and FTTH Europe Council Board Member said, “The INCA Conference is a perfect platform to exchange ideas with the key decision makers to meet the ambitious targets for the rollout of full fibre in the UK. Our goals align with INCA’s on deploying a sustainable and interconnected fibre infrastructure which supports the economic and social growth of the country. As a company we are also here to support the Alt Nets and their business challenges, including network build costs, scalability, availability of skilled labour and access to civil infrastructure.”
Lloyd Warn, Account Director UK & Ireland at PacketFront Software said, “PacketFront Software are really looking forward to the networking opportunity at the INCA event, I’m fed up with Teams calls so the opportunity to speak to people & attend the awards dinner is one I’m really looking forward to. Please find us & let’s have a chat about your OSS/BSS requirements.”
Simon Wade, Sales Manager at Emtelle said, “We are delighted to be exhibiting at the INCA event again this year. It is fantastic to be able to meet with our existing customers, re-invigorate relationships by meeting in person and begin building new relationships. With the continued emergence of alt-nets across the UK, we look forward to meeting with everyone to discuss the opportunities that lie ahead in the FTTX industry and how we can support their ambitious roll out plans.”
John Tarleton, Sales Director at IQGeo said, “The UK broadband market is extremely competitive, and operators appreciate that they can no longer rely on legacy systems to be successful. The INCA conference provides an excellent forum for IQGeo because ambitious broadband operators expect to see innovative solutions like our geospatial network management software. This is a challenging time and the INCA team have put together a great programme. We look forward to our presentation on Day 1 and speaking with the delegates on the show floor.”
Marcel Horst, Project Manager at the CWP said, “Common Wholesale Platform are attending this year’s INCA conference because we believe we have a unique proposition for the sector. Formed out a collaboration of leading altnets, we have established an independent solution to help drive up gigabit adoption to an unprecedented rate. At INCA, we will demonstrate the platform and gather feedback from interested service providers and network operators to extend the collaboration and deliver the first OTS compliant platform in the UK. Talk to us at Stand 15.”
Niall Halpenny, Director of Telecoms at Sonalake said, “Sonalake has been an active member of INCA since 2017 participating in a range of activities, in particular the SWSIG workgroup. SWSIG focuses on helping Altnets become a united industry force in the area of Wholesale, providing an alternative solution to the current large incumbents. Our goal is to share our 20+ years’ experience of delivering software solutions into the telecoms market in particular BSS and Network Operations with the Altnets. So, our sponsorship is a natural extension of our commitment to the Altnet community. “
For more information, including how to attend, and for the full programme, please visit: https://www.inca.coop/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=251. For more information about their work or of INCA in general, please visit: https://www.inca.coop/.
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Notes to editors
The Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) was established in 2010 as a co-operative trade association for next generation broadband services. INCA brings together the most innovative thinkers in the independent alternative network sector, creating new digital infrastructure in the UK and Ireland. For more information about INCA, please visit: https://www.inca.coop/.
James Page, Proactive PR. [email protected] or 07824 152 086.