MS3 Networks responds to Julia Lopez MP's letter to fixed line broadband operators

Julia Lopez MP

Minister of State for Data and Digital Infrastructure

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

100 Parliament Street

London SW1A 2BQ

DATE: 20th March 2024

Dear Minister,

I hope that our letter to you last week was helpful and provided you with the information you require.

Since sending that letter, I have seen your letter to fixed operators across the country (see here), although MS3 does not appear to have received that letter directly. In that context, I thought I would share with you a copy of my letter to KCOM, responding to the press coverage associated with KCOM’s letter to Connexin last Friday (attached), as this speaks to the key message contained in your letter to the industry, on the importance of sharing existing telecoms infrastructure where possible.

We are concerned that MS3 is not able to contribute actively towards the timely development of infrastructure sharing in the Hull area and hope that solutions can be found to overcome that situation. We are also concerned that KCOM is now engaging in a feasibility assessment of infrastructure sharing, when we would have thought that work to have been completed some time ago, especially given that KCOM has been in receipt of infrastructure sharing requests from both MS3 and Connexin for nearly two years.

I also note that your letter to operators refers to work to revise the existing Cabinet Siting and Pole Siting Code of Practice and I wish to assure you that MS3 is ready to work with your Department in that effort.

Your stated of intention of revising the Code to make sure “communities feel engaged in the deployment of new broadband infrastructure, whilst still allowing operators to continue deploying their networks” is a sensible one. As described in my letter last week, MS3 already has a considerable focus on maximum engagement with the local community and we voluntarily comply with the current Code of Practice.

The only occasion where we have not been able to engage fully under the terms of the Code of Practice was when we were advised to stop engagement by the local police, due to the reaction of residents in that location. This speaks to the importance of striking the right balance in a revised Code of Practice to ensure that meaningful community engagement by operators is possible.

We believe strongly that the benefits of fibre competition are so material to individuals, businesses and society overall that we need to identify solutions that are effective and timely. Whilst some residents have been vocal in their opposition to certain types of infrastructure deployment, it should also be noted that we have attracted over 7000 customers to our network in Hull. We already save consumers in Hull more than £1.5m every year through lower broadband pricing and we want to continue to offer these benefits. The changes and improvements needed to do so require the timely removal of barriers to infrastructure sharing, not steps that risk slowing down deployment and diluting competition and lower prices for consumers.

We stand ready to work with you and other stakeholders to improve infrastructure sharing in UK telecoms.

Yours sincerely,

Guy Miller

Chief Executive Officer

MS3 Networks Limite

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