Search This Blog

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Announcement of Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA)

At the CBN Next Generation Roadshow in Manchester today we got some further information about INCA, as (briefly) mentioned in the recent Digital Britain report. Here is what they shared with us:

INCA: A National Framework for Local Action

The Digital Britain report backed the proposal by CBN to create a body to represent and coordinate local next generation broadband networks and initiatives. The Independent Networks Co-operative Association – INCA – is being launched at this event.

INCA will:
• Act as a unified voice for local projects to government and industry
• Promote common technical & business standards
• Create a body of expertise supporting next gen projects
• Underpin the development of the ‘patchwork quilt’ of local projects by developing a ‘Joint Operating Network’ (JON) providing technical and operational support
• Create a development service to promote local project opportunities
• Encourage public sector investment in innovative local schemes
• Focus rural investment on Next Generation, not simply catching up with First Generation broadband

More information at

INCA will receive £150,000 in funding from the government but will establish itself as a co-operative model whereby future funds will come from the members.

They will model their approach on the National Co-operative Telecommunications Association from the US.

Clearly this is a necessary model if the ‘patchwork quilt’ of fibre networks is how Britain is going to build its digital economy, however I have to ask if the business model is viable. The ‘members’ will be a very diverse group of organisations from co-op FTTH projects such as Alston Cybermoor (or Fibremoor as I believe they prefer now) to service providers wishing to offer their services over these networks (some new local and regional SPs and the usual suspects of large players including BT and Virgin Media) to other content providers wishing to deliver their content (for example the BBC). Do we expect all these groups to act together under the umbrella of an organisation into which they have all invested? Is it reasonable to expect that they will all invest? Beyond that as these JON “demand aggregation” centres are established can we expect these organisations to reach consensus on the common architectures and standards?

No comments: