Predictions for the UK communications market in 2016

1st March 2016

Filed Under: Featured

Gigaclear has started this year on a high after experiencing a record year in 2015. A highlight was reaching a milestone in delivering pure fibre broadband to 15,000 properties last year. We also ...

Gigaclear has started this year on a high after experiencing a record year in 2015. A highlight was reaching a milestone in delivering pure fibre broadband to 15,000 properties last year. We also began trialling Britain’s fastest internet package for retail customers with a 5Gbps broadband service, which will be available to all our customers when the trial is completed later in 2016.

For other ISPs, I have a few ‘crystal ball’ predictions.

Now that BT has completed its purchase of EE, the company focus will no doubt move to ‘Mobile and Media’. It will launch a range of new bundled fixed-mobile-media services and lever a new “HomeHub” with a personal 4G base station. Despite calls for Openreach to be split from the BT Group from 121 cross party MPs in the latest ‘Broadbad’ report by the British Infrastructure Group in January, I don’t believe this will happen. Following the initial report into the Strategic Review by Ofcom in February, BT will agree to substantially increase its capital and operating expenditure on Openreach, to improve the network quality and capacity.

Virgin Media will start to make an impact with ‘Project Lightning’, mostly focused on in-filling around the edge of its existing network footprints, building to over 250,000 new properties in the process during the year.

For smaller ISPs, the latest consultation from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, ‘National Broadband Scheme: Market Engagement on Procurement Approach’, opens up a whole range of different potential models that can be used to deliver better broadband in the UK. We are interested in seeing the impact of the plan to give priority to ISPs offering open access networks. Combined with breaking down procurement into smaller lots, we expect to see a significant increase in the number of companies bidding for projects to serve the “final 10%”.

This month, Ofcom will announce a 45% rise in the average UK broadband speeds, from 23Mbps to 33Mbps. For technology retailers and manufacturers, I predict that over a quarter of all TVs and monitors sold in the UK this year will be 4K.

In terms of security, the UK emergency services will announce plans to equip all field staff with body cameras. And finally, the Intellectual Property Bill will be amended so that Internet service providers are no longer required to store ‘Internet Connection Records’.

Matthew Hare
Chief Executive, Gigaclear Plc