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Openreach rivals demand 'level playing field' in broadband infrastructure market

Tuesday, September 15th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Four rivals of BT Openreach have formed a group to campaign for more investment and competition in the communications market.

Virgin Media has teamed up with broadband infrastructure providers CityFibre, euNetworks and Zayo to form the Infrastructure Investors Group (IIG).

With responses to Ofcom’s Business Connectivity Market Review – which looks at the provision of leased lines to businesses – expected this week, the group set out its position as having “a common interest in a communications market that is pro-competition and pro-investment”.

In a statement, the IIG said its members were among the most significant investors in the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

It pointed to Virgin’s £3bn UK-wide Project Lightning expansion and CityFibre’s programme of ‘gigabit city’ rollouts, while euNetworks and Zayo have made big investments in the US and European markets, and are looking to expand in the UK.

The IIG has pledged to lobby policymakers and industry stakeholders to recognise benefits of a “pro-investment environment”.

The group also said it is open to membership from other communications providers with similar goals.

Mark Collins, director of strategy and public policy at CityFibre, said: “We are delighted to be a founding member of the IIG, and to raise the awareness of the significant communications infrastructure investments taking place throughout the UK.

'Explosive growth'

“The material benefits of healthy infrastructure competition are clear. We must ensure a level playing field for pro-competitive fibre investment.

“This is essential if we are to provide a credible alternative national infrastructure and unleash the technological and economic benefits our investments bring to our towns and cities.”

David Howson, president of Zayo Group's international business division, said: “As a significant investor in fibre networks on a global basis Zayo Group is pleased to be a founding member of the IIG.

“It is an exciting time in the UK fibre market with a strong need and demand for new networks driven by the explosive growth of broadband, mobile and cloud-based services.

“Along with the other members of the IIG, Zayo is investing significant amounts of capital to build out our network specifically to accommodate the needs of this new network demand dynamic.

“We share the IIG’s belief that a clear, open and competitive market is the best environment to continue to encourage this type of long-term investment in the UK, to the benefit of all.”

Brady Rafuse, CEO of euNetworks said: “As a leading European data centre and cloud connectivity provider, we continue to invest significantly in the telecommunications infrastructure in the UK, in order to support the high growth in demand from consumers and enterprises who require 24/7 location independent access to content and applications.

“As a founding member of the IIG we believe that an open and competitive market is essential to encourage this long-term investment, and to support the UK’s economic continued prosperity.”

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