ISPA UK’s 16th annual flagship Parliament & Internet conference took place in the Attlee Suite at the end of last month. We were delighted to welcome representatives from across industry, government, academia, and civil society to listen in and participate in an essential event at a critical time for our industry. The afternoon was full of insightful discussion and debate about the future of the UK internet sector. Our expert panels and keynote deep dove into the future of broadband, key policy developments, FTTP rollout, net neutrality, and cyber security.
The afternoon kicked off with introductory remarks by ISPA’s chair, Steve Leighton, who then introduced the first panel which this year focused on net neutrality.
On this panel we were delighted to be joined by:
- Roslyn Layton, PhD, Tech Policy Lead at Strand Consult
- Clive Carter, Director of Group Regulatory Affairs at BT Group
- Dr Monica Horten, Policy Manager at Open Rights Group
- Till Sommer, Head of Policy at ISPA UK
- Matt Warman MP (Chair)
With the results of Ofcom’s review of the UK’s net neutrality regime expected in Autumn, the panel examined what the revisions and a reconceptualisation of the current regulatory regime could look like, contributing to how it can be redefined for the internet of the future. Chaired by former Broadband Minister Matt Warman MP, the panel had a spirited discussion on what an open internet could look like in the UK after its exit from the EU - and what overarching policy objectives the Government should consider when comparing it to other nations. The main conclusion from the panel was that the UK's review represents a once in a generation opportunity to change the current constricting rules on industry.
We were then joined by Baroness Neville-Jones, the former Security Minister, who delivered the cybersecurity keynote session. Some of the key takeaways from her keynote included how the UK has improved national cyber security capacity since her role in the Cameron Government and the formation of NCSC. Her discussion on cybersecurity concluded with a call for greater collaboration and information sharing between technology companies, governments, and other stakeholders.
As the country gears up for the next General Election in what is slated to be Autumn 2024, our final panel of the day held a timely discussion on the need for broadband to remain a long-term political priority, the remaining barriers faced by a highly competitive industry in the rollout of gigabit broadband, and what is next for the broadband sector.
We were thrilled to be joined by:
- James Fredrickson, Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Hyperoptic
- Catherine Colloms, Director of Corporate Affairs and Brand, Openreach
- Gareth Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Gigaclear
- Brian Potterill, Director of Competition Policy, Ofcom
- Ben Lake MP (Chair)
With excellent chairing by Ben Lake MP, some of the key takeaways of this session included support for flexi-permits, a call for greater diversity in the industry, the impact of inflation, and a lively debate on Equinox 2 and mid-contract price rises.
Overall, the event was a great success, bringing together over 100 attendees, and we are incredibly thankful for the fantastic speakers who shared their insights with us. The discussions and knowledge shared will undoubtedly lead to a more informed and innovative approach to the regulation and growth of the telecoms sector in the UK. We look forward to welcoming everyone to next year’s Parliament & Internet event.