What does #brexit mean for broadband?
In the early hours of this morning, we woke up to the news that Britain* has voted to leave the European Union.
We made a conscious decision not to comment on this issue prior to the results as we felt that broadband would not be a key decision issue, and here's why.
Whilst the EU has a significant input into how markets work and how state aid in case of broadband is made possible, the importance of broadband for the UK economy does not change whether or not we chose to remain or leave the EU. It's far more likely that the success of the general economy (including investment in broadband suppliers/infrastructure) will affect the UK broadband market than the direct involvement in broadband rollout. We may see transitional difficulties on rollouts of state-funded projects but at this stage it's too early to say if they will have a positive, neutral or negative impact in addressing broadband slow-spots and hotspots. EU targets may become irrelevant but the economy as a whole will drive the demand for faster services.
Travellers may see more costs as the EU mobile roaming charges are due to be abolished, although we suspect the momentum for this is already under way and unlikely to have a significant impact.
No immediate change being planned to any schemes and we have a complex and lengthy negotiation ahead on the terms of the Brexit and any participation we have in the European Economic Area (EEA) and how that relates to broadband infrastructure, negotiations that may not even start until a new Prime Minister takes over in a few months and a formal notice of Article 50 to leave the EU being invoked.
* England and Wales to be precise; Scotland and Northern Ireland individually voted to remain which may in itself cause some complexity given the political climate.