April 24, 2017
The Broadband Stakeholder Group has published its first report on the implications of Brexit for the Digital Communications Sector, which directly contributes £30.2 billion to the UK economy.
The report details the challenges, risks and opportunities for the digital communications sector during the Brexit process. It highlights that the timing of Brexit is particularly acute as the sector is in the initial phase of a new investment cycle to bring the next generation of ultrafast and 5G technologies to UK consumers and businesses. Creating and maintaining a favourable environment for sustainable investment in digital infrastructure now and in the future is crucial for the UK economy and consumers.
The UK Government can play a key role in supporting the industry by minimising risks to investment and innovation, and creating opportunities for the industry to continue to compete globally.
The report finds that regulatory predictability during this phase is critical and the Government can take measures to help preserve this, including re-committing to the current principles under which the sector operates. The report recommends the Government should also align with the current EU rules, which themselves are being amended, in the medium term.
There are issues that are outside of the Government’s direct control as they will form part of the exit negotiations with the EU. The report calls on the Government to work with industry to help preserve the continued implementation of regulations covering cross-border services, areas such as roaming charges and the Country of Origin principle for the delivery of audiovisual media services.
At a global level, the trade in electronic components and telecoms equipment represents a critical portion of telecom companies’ operations and is vital for the industry as it supports the development of networks and innovative communication technologies. The change of relationship between the UK, the EU and the rest of the world could impact this and Government can help mitigate the risks by working with industry and strengthening its influence in international standard bodies.
The BSG has committed to continue to providing updates as the Brexit negotiations unfold. To read the BSG press release in full and for a link to the report, click here.