Rivals Openreach and CityFibre share view of collaborative approach to broadband
The government’s new found love for full fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband infrastructure is most welcome, but its targets for roll-out are ambitious and the industry will struggle to meet them without radical new approaches to working practice and regulatory policy, representatives of rival network builders Openreach and CityFibre agreed in a panel debate.
Speaking at a Westminster eForum event on broadband policy and strategy, Openreach’s director of corporate affairs, Catherine Colloms, and CityFibre’s head of regulatory affairs, Alex Blowers, drew similar conclusions as they looked ahead to the next 10 to 15 years of digital infrastructure policy.
This collaborative approach also needs to extend into central government and the regulator, said Blowers, who described a “widening gap” between public policy goals around faster FTTP roll-out and regulatory policy.
The basic problem, he said, was that while the government could very easily turn on a sixpence to back FTTP, Ofcom’s existing regulatory approach to broadband had evolved over a number of years in a “make do and mend” approach to the UK’s passive network infrastructure, and it would take time to adapt that model to the changing environment, where there is now much more return on investment potential in building FTTP.