Brexit gives the United Kingdom an opportunity to combine the best of the European Union's digital regulations with a vision tailored specifically to the nation's current and future needs, according to the Carnegie UK Trust.
But Britain must include more consumers' voices in the current industry-dominated conversation, warned William Perrin, author of "Brexit: Implications for digital citizens and consumers," released today. And the country also needs to ensure continuity and consistency with the EU's stringent regulations for trade and other reasons, wrote Perrin, who has held government policy advisor positions.
Yes, it's that Carnegie: The Carnegie UK Trust is a non-profit founded by Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American. It focuses on "enabling wellbeing," by pursing three objectives: digital futures, flourishing towns and fulfilling work, according to its website.
Diverging from EU
Whereas the EU plans to reduce operator regulation in the next few years, the British government could use more regulation to oversee providers, wrote Perrin. Like their US counterparts, major UK providers such as BT, TalkTalk, Sky and EE suffer from poor customer experience ratings, often tied to enticing new-subscriber offerings that penalize loyalty, he argued. (See The CX Journey & UBB: Houston, We Have a Problem and FCC's Ajit Pai Heads to Europe )
"It is possible that Brexit will give the UK Government and OFCOM greater leeway to take action to resolve problems relating to the operation of competition in retail telecoms markets in the public interest, in a way that might otherwise have been constrained by membership of the EU," the report said. "In short, there may be scope here for early divergence from the standard EU approach and to claim this as a positive, citizen benefit of Brexit."
Like service providers that adopt open source, software-defined networking (SDN) and DevOps, post-Brexit Britain will enjoy faster decision-making and more transparency, resulting in improved flexibility and agility, the report said. This could give consumers earlier access to earlier availability and more options for new services and products, it continued.
"A balanced approach to innovation manages the risk by working with industry and consumer and citizen groups to mitigate the most dangerous
or troubling aspects and bring the maximum benefit to society," Perrin wrote.
Rural broadband, a concern for many governments and residents, might improve once Britain leaves the European bloc, he noted. But that could have implications for service providers, perhaps even beyond the countryside.
Operators could face more competition from local municipalities, now governed by the EU's 2007 Wireless Prague state aid case which partially "underpins the elaborate state aid process behind the BDUK £1.6 billion broadband subsidy, where councils have had to prove that there is no competition in service delivery in each postcode district before intervening with financial support," according to the report. "The rigidity and substantial burden of seeking state aid approval means that councils and themselves lacking flexibility when different solutions are required."
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.