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Rural broadband: Small providers offer best 'bang out of your public sector buck'

Friday, October 24th 2014 by Ellen Branagh

Independent broadband network providers may be competitors but they are united by an aim to enhance the UK's infrastructure, the head of a cooperative association has said.

Malcolm Corbett, chief executive of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA), said smaller providers are providing solutions to get fibre to difficult-to-reach areas, and so helping to provide the biggest “bang out of your public sector buck”.

Mr Corbett was speaking to Cable.co.uk ahead of the INCA Transforming Rural Broadband Seminar on Wednesday, which will highlight innovative solutions to delivering high speed broadband in some of the country’s most challenging areas.

Speakers at the Kent event will include Chris Townsend, head of the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project, as well as figures from alternative network providers such as Gigaclear, which is dedicated to bringing ultrafast broadband to rural communities.

The event is aimed at local authority officers, network operators, and representatives from rural communities looking to improve broadband services.

Mr Corbett told us: “The aim of the seminar is an opportunity for a group of companies who are developing inventive solutions to explain what they are up to and why they are doing this in a dialogue with some of the public sector guys who are spending money.

“These people are doing stuff which is quite challenging to do and doesn't rely on shedloads of public money to do it.

“What unites them is a sense that they are building the new infrastructure that we are going to need for the future, and a sense that there is one power who would really rather they didn't survive or certainly would rather they didn't succeed. That's what unites them.”

Mr Corbett said it was good that the Government was paying attention to the issue, with the head of BDUK attending the seminar.

He said: "It's part of a process of getting the Government to understand better what independent guys are doing.

"When it comes to fibre services in really difficult areas that's what people are going to be talking about.

"It's what you can do to get the biggest possible bang out of your public sector buck”

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