LONDON, 14 September – CityFibre, euNetworks, Virgin Media and Zayo, all significant private investors in UK digital infrastructure, have announced the creation of the ‘Infrastructure Investors Group’ (IIG). Ahead of the anticipated publication of responses to Ofcom’s Business Connectivity Market Review this week, the group today sets out its position: a common interest in a communications market that is pro-competition and pro-investment.
Infrastructure competition is alive and well in the UK.
The IIG’s members are amongst the most significant investors in the UK’s communications infrastructure. Virgin Media’s £3bn Project Lightning expansion and CityFibre’s programme of Gigabit City roll-outs demonstrate the scope of opportunity and extent of activity. Additionally, both Zayo and euNetworks have already invested large sums in network projects in the US and Europe, and are looking to expand their UK footprints with further large capital investments, bringing major benefits to businesses and consumers.
Collectively, IIG has plans underway to deploy billions of pounds of capital in new infrastructure projects which will result in a significant economic stimulus to the UK vastly exceeding the investments themselves.
The IIG will work to ensure that the benefits of a pro-investment environment are fully recognised by policy makers and industry stakeholders. Furthermore, the IIG is open to membership from other communications providers with similar goals. More infrastructure investment - from major cities to rural areas – means increased competition and access to better connectivity throughout the UK, benefiting citizens and the wider digital economy.
Infrastructure investment drives £180 billion benefit to UK economy
A recent report by the Boston Consultancy Group expects the Internet economy to contribute £180 billion to the overall economy in 2015, up from £120 billion in 2010. At 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), this is a larger percentage than in any other G20 country, with infrastructure investment being essential to this sustained success.*
Sustaining these investments is essential to maintaining the UK’s continued position as a leading digital nation. Regulation plays a vital role in the sector and can significantly impact the appetite for investment. Therefore, a pro-competition approach to regulation that encourages sustainable long-term private investment from IIG’s members and others is paramount. This will ensure greater levels of innovation and customer choice through the deployment of new ultrafast fibre infrastructures.
Regulation cannot replace the genuine investment incentives that result from infrastructure competition. However, it can create a pro-investment framework that will support efficient investment in innovative and effective network infrastructure.
Mark Collins, Director of Strategy and Public Policy at CityFibre speaking on behalf of the IIG 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. 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, 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 x7” 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.”
*Boston Consultancy Group May 2015: http://www.bcg.com/news/press/1may2015-internet-contributes-10-percent-gdp-uk-economy.aspx