About 21CN Digital Infrastructure Group

Objective

Bring forward investment in socially and geographically inclusive world class digital communications infrastructures with a focus on enabling businesses in all parts of the UK to be globally competitive.

Next Events

No meeting dates currently arranged

Parliamentary Chair: Lord Inglewood DL
Industry Chair: Peter Farmer (Gamma Communications)
Rapporteur: Arthur Virgo

Work Programme

Three Parliamentary meetings to review concerns about the speed in securing ubiquitous, fast broadband across the UK to ensure global competitiveness for industry and to enable an effective Cabinet Office-led “Digital by Default” policy. The first, in November 2013, held jointly with the Parliamentary Space Committee, reviewed the issues and the potential of satellite broadband to enable competitiveness in areas encountering hold-ups in terrestrial broadband deployment. The resulting Report led to the second Parliamentary meeting, in February 2014, which assessed areas where a 10 Minute Rule Bill could be an effective means of opening up competitiveness to industries in rural areas. In March 2014 a joint meeting with the European Internet Foundation reviewed the issues in a broader European and global context.

A round table was held on 12th September 2014 to encourage inputs to the DCMS/Treasury Consultation on Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy identified the need for work on Consultation Procedures, Universal Service, Performance Measures, Inter-operability Standards, Planning and Procurement Guidance, Identity Infrastructures and Skills. Sub Groups subsequently produced short drafts on Consultation Procedures, Performance measures and Inter-operability standards.

Many organisations are currently engaged in lobbying DCMS (and the Select Committee) and Ofcom regarding the competitive structure of the UK Communications industry.  Most are hobbled by the battle lines drawn between the major players and the consequent needs to avoid offending those on whom they depend for funding.

Two workshops earlier this year led to the formation of a consortium (Local Authorities, Network Operators and major property owners) which is using the BSI PAS process to produce common access and wayleave agreements which meet the needs of property owners as well as network managers and thus cut the cost and delay of new build/upgrades.  A further workshop is planned to review progress and discuss whether to extend the approach to cover planning and building guidance.  The role, if any, of DPA is with this exercise needs to be discussed.  It currently has no neutral umbrella.

FCS has agreed to work with the UK IPV6 Council to produce a directory of suppliers supporting IPV6 which includes planning and procurement guidance.  The role, if any, of DPA with this exercise needs to be discussed.  It currently has no neutral umbrella.

Arrangements are in train for a third of all local councillors to be invited to participate in an exercise to work with suppliers to produce guidance to enable them to get better value from current BDUK contracts and/or decide whether to go out to competitive tender.  The role, if any, of DPA with this exercise needs to be discussed.  It currently has no neutral umbrella.

Past Events