Operator scraps broadband plan in Worcestershire, just months after Analysys Mason study warns of the need to remove barriers to network rollout
27 July 2017
News that telecoms operator Gigaclear has shelved plans to deploy fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) networks in Worcestershire due to problems with permits comes only two months after a study by telecoms adviser Analysys Mason warned that issues associated with street works and planning could negatively impact deployment of telecoms infrastructure. (See Editor's note 1)
The report entitled "Lowering barriers to telecoms infrastructure deployment" was commissioned by the Broadband Stakeholder Group and examines local authorities' as well as operators' practices that hinder or delay the roll-out of broadband infrastructure.
"This is the first significant example of how the costs associated with government bureaucracy have undone a viable economic case for deployment," commented Ian Adkins, Principal at Analysys Mason - Consulting Division and co-author of the study.
"Our study highlighted inconsistencies with how local authorities interpret guidance and make decisions related to street works and permissions. Unless these issues are resolved the impact on national ambitions for fibre deployment to the scale of 10 million premises will be dramatic. They will have little chance of being achieved," he added.
"Reducing logistical barriers, like improved planning and traffic management" was one of the enablers quoted by Openreach as being necessary to unlock FTTP investment in its recent announcement of a consultation to help find ways to enable deployment at scale. (See Editor's note 3)
Despite the challenges above, the report's authors do site reasons for optimism when it comes to operators and local authorities working together to enable successful network rollouts.
"We are aware from our advisory work on broadband network investment with other local authorities, such as Essex County Council, that Gigaclear have successfully installed sizeable FTTP networks in rural areas," explains Ian.
"It seems those local authorities that can resolve street works and planning issues will be the first to benefit from new telecoms infrastructure deployment."
(3) Openreach press release, 'Openreach Seeks Support to Future-Proof Digital Britain. Consultation launched to build the case for a new, large-scale 'full fibre' broadband network', dated 17 July 2017