FCS says: Digital Britain- now implementation has to be Access to spectrum and networks

At the FCS Annual General Meeting this week FCS Chairman, Adrian Grilli, congratulates Lord Carter and his team on a comprehensive set of proposals to deliver a Digital Britain. The FCS represents the important voice of the small and new entrant communication services suppliers.

Adrian Grilli said, “The hard work starts today to get the implementation right. Government will have to take a firm line to push British industry forward out of the economic downturn facilitated by the utility of telecoms. To do this we call upon Government and Ofcom to focus on competitive access to fixed and mobile telecoms infrastructure and radio spectrum to deliver those promised wholesale communications markets.

“While proposed changes to the Comms Act 2003 to promote investment in infrastructure in the Report are well and good, services have to be delivered to customers and not only by established vertically integrated operators.

“Today’s economic climate favours nimble and responsive enterprises typified by FCS members who have helped to grow WLR to 6 million lines and develop the diversity of radio and voice over IP services. The UK must embrace this capability – not shut it out – and ensure that these competing suppliers can have open access to spectrum, fixed and mobile infrastructure on non-discriminatory terms.

“To move the industry forward into the new era industry players must co-operate with regulatory oversight to ensure that new services on the Next Generation Access networks can be delivered without unintended barriers.”

In its 2009 policy paper issued at today’s AGM FCS warns as well that current regulatory policies focussing purely on allocation of spectrum by market mechanisms could severely damage the UK economy unless society’s needs for future spectrum access by Critical Infrastructure and Mission Critical users are taken into account.

As the nation moves into the post recession period FCS recommends that Ofcom sets up a Business Panel that is widely drawn to assist it to understand strategic business and technology changes and the normal commercial practice of its customers.

FCS believes that the entire UK would benefit from open access and fair competition in communication services and regard for the industry’s carbon footprint.