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INCA launches Gold Standard Quality Mark Scheme

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The scheme will introduce a ‘seal of approval’ across full-fibre, hybrid, wireless and wholesale networks

London, UK, 14 November, 2018: The Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) today launched a new Gold Standard Quality Mark Scheme to highlight best practices in performance, design and operations, enabling consumers to buy with confidence when choosing internet packages.

The initiative has been introduced to tackle what INCA says are confusing marketing messages from broadband providers and will provide an agreed set of definitions, covering technology, performance and customer service. Full-fibre, hybrid, wireless and wholesale networks will all be covered by the scheme.

“In a sector where not even the Government and regulator can agree on what ‘superfast’ means and where the advertising watchdog allows copper connections to be called fibre, it is not surprising that consumers and businesses often don’t know what connection they’re getting when it comes to broadband,” said INCA CEO Malcolm Corbett. “There is also a need for the industry, government and Ofcom to work on standards for cross-platform switching between different networks, to increase consumers’ choice of service providers and drive down costs. Currently there are no guidelines for what this type of switching platform should offer, making the process inefficient.

“The INCA Gold Standard Quality Mark Scheme clarifies the information being made available to consumers and encourages a higher quality of broadband across the UK.”

INCA members wishing to receive the Gold Standard Quality Mark will need to go through a validation process and agree to abide by a set of “best practice” criteria. They will then be awarded with a logo to use across its branding to highlight that their networks represent the best in performance, design and operation.

The creation of the scheme is being supported by leading INCA Members. WightFibre and Hyperoptic are the first two Gold Standard Founder Members.

In creating the Gold Standard, INCA has collaborated with several industry and other bodies – Local Government Association, Federation of Communication Services, UKWISPA, Confederation of Aerial Industries and FTTH Council – to ensure a common approach and widest possible input and adoption.

“In a nutshell, we want to make sure taxpayers’ money is being spent on better, fit-for-purpose and fit-for-future networks,” said Corbett. “It will make it easy for home and business customers to identify exactly what service they need and whether it will perform to the standard they expect.”

The Gold Standard Quality Mark Scheme follows the launch of INCA’s inaugural awards which – following a highly successful ceremony at INCA’s Annual Conference – are now known as the INCA Golds ahead of next year’s Call For Entries.

For more information about the INCA Gold Standard Quality Mark Scheme, please visit: https://www.inca.coop/quality-mark.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

About INCA
The Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA), was established in 2010 as a co-operative trade association for next generation broadband services. INCA brings together the most innovative thinkers in the independent alternative network sector, creating new digital infrastructure in the UK and Ireland.

About INCA Gold Standard Quality Mark Scheme
The INCA Gold Standard Quality Mark Scheme provides a set of criteria that clearly identifies what type of broadband network an operator or service provider is offering, the performance it delivers and the capabilities it offers. The agreed set of definitions cover technology, performance and customer service across in four network categories: Full-fibre, Hybrid, Wireless and Wholesale.

Operators and service providers wishing to receive the Gold Standard Quality Mark undergo a validation process and, if successful, are awarded a logo to display across their brand so consumers know they can buy with confidence.

About INCA Gold Standard Founder Members
The scheme is being supported by a number of leading INCA Members who are investing in the industry-wide initiative to drive up standards and encourage clearer communication. The first two Gold Standard Founder Members are Wight Fibre and Hyperoptic.

About INCA Golds
The INCA Golds were established in 2018 to recognise the achievements of alternative network providers (altnets). Network builders, operators and other independents are eligible to enter the seven categories, which include Technical Innovation, Commercial Innovation, Urban Impact, Rural Impact, Best Community Project, Best Public Sector Impact and Outstanding Contribution.

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