LONDON, UK – The Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) has launched a new Gold Standard Quality Mark Scheme to highlight best practices in performance, design and operations.
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 must 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.
The Gold Standard Quality Mark Scheme follows the launch of INCA’s inaugural awards at the association’s Annual Conference in London. Eight awards were presented, with accolades going to Broadway Partners for Technical Innovation; Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council for Commercial Innovation; KCOM for Urban Impact; Lothian Broadband for Rural Impact; Balquhidder Community Broadband CIC for Best Community Project; City of London Corporation & London Law Society for Best Public Sector Project; Hyperoptic for Outstanding Contribution; and Simon Wade, of Emtelle, for Outstanding Individual Contribution.
The winners of the awards were selected by an independent judging panel, made up of Chris Pateman, consultant; Lorne Mitchell, of Objective Design; Ian Corden, of Plum Consulting; Itret Latif, of Federation of Communications Services; and Annalise Berendt, of Point Topic.
For more information about the INCA Gold Standard Quality Mark Scheme, please visit: www.inca.coop/quality-mark.