21st Century connectivity: lessons for the UK

How the UK achieves world-leading digital infrastructure is hotly debated.

Ofcom has launched a once in a decade review of digital communications. Government is helping to deliver super-fast coverage (with an ambition for ultra-fast). Internet providers are rolling out the latest technologies to consumers. The Treasury’s productivity plan and Spending Review framework highlight digital technology as one of the key themes of public service reform in this Parliament.

But how ambitious should we be? Is the UK attractive to international investors and innovative companies with new technologies? Is our communications infrastructure up to global standards? What can we learn from other markets, from institutional investors and from those who have delivered world-leading connectivity elsewhere?

Reform, in partnership with Sky, invites you to a unique policy summit to discuss how we ensure the UK has a world-leading digital economy for the next decade and beyond.

Through three panels and a keynote speech, domestic and international experts will set out how we can deliver the digital infrastructure needed for efficient public services, a productive economy and a stronger society.


08.30              Arrival and breakfast

09.00              Panel: “What should UK networks be delivering?

Our first panel will discuss the consumer and business expectations for connectivity in the UK, and whether these are currently being delivered. The panel will address how we are doing now with regards to connectivity and what we want to achieve. The audience will be invited to quiz our panel on what ultra-fast technology could be delivered in Britain and the effect that 21st Century Connectivity could have on life in the UK.

  • Chair, Andrew Haldenby, Director, Reform
  • Matt Houlihan, Head of Government Affairs, UK&I, Cisco
  • Peter Cochrane OBE, Cochrane Associates
  • Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy, British Chambers of Commerce
  • Dana Tobak, Managing Director, Hyperoptic

10.00               Panel: “International Lessons”

With a panel of leading professionals from across the globe, our second session will debate whether the UK could be learning lessons from abroad. The chair will ask panellists to consider how connectivity has been delivered overseas through case studies, where companies have chosen to invest in next generation connectivity, and what this has delivered. The panel will be followed by a Q&A.

  • Chair, Jonathan Ford, Chief Leader Writer, Financial Times
  • Vanessa Oakley, General Counsel, Chorus, New Zealand
  • Per-Olof Gustafsson, Deputy CEO, Stokab, Sweden
  • Benoit Felten, Diffraction Analysis

10.55 – 11.15  Coffee break

11.15 – 12.05  Panel: “Mobilising investments in the UK”

With the vast bulk of infrastructure delivered through private sector investment, our third panel will discuss the appetite for investment in next-generation infrastructure in the UK, and how the market and regulatory environment can incentivise investment. Drawing on the overseas examples and opportunities from high speed connectivity identified in the previous two sessions, this panel will cover the risks and rewards of investing in next generation connectivity.

  • Chair, Jonathan Ford, Chief Leader Writer, Financial Times
  • Andrew Griffith, Group CFO, Sky
  • Nick Delfas, Partner, Redburn
  • Robert Wall, Senior Principal, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

12.10 – 12.30  Keynote Speech – John Fingleton: “Helping the market deliver next generation connectivity’’

A keynote speech from John Fingleton will draw together the key themes from our morning panel sessions, assessing what regulatory and policy frameworks can help deliver the connectivity the country needs.

12.30 – 13.30  Buffet lunch and networking

Please register your interest at events@reform.co.uk. Attendance will be confirmed by email.



12 November 2015
08.30 - 12.30