United Kingdom seeks American cabling companies, venture capitalists

The United Kingdom wants U.S. companies to bring their cabling technology and investment money into its market.

The United Kingdom wants U.S. companies to bring their cabling technology and investment money into its market.

Dr. Paul France, in a reception at the recent Supercomm conference in Atlanta, GA, touted the U.K.'s market for data network services, advancements in wireless LANs and optical fiber. France, the head of Internet and Data Solutions Centre at BT Exact, the British Telecom's advanced communications technology business, said the U.K. is eager to increase broadband penetration, end user volume and widespread deployment of structured cabling and components.

"We are still putting a lot of fiber into the ground," says France. "We do believe there's still much fiber needed for the business market."

France spoke on behalf of Invest.UK (www.investuk-usa.com), the British government's worldwide economic development agency. The presentation was part of an ongoing effort to get U.S. companies to set up shop in the United Kingdom or expand from a British base.

France describes the U.K.'s telecom technology market as "vibrant" and seeking advancements in optical fiber, wireless, broadband and Internet security technology. He said the convergence of these technologies is now attracting the interest of U.S. technology companies and investors seeking profitable growth opportunities.

France met with potential investors and representatives from the U.S. structured cabling industry during a reception at the Bank of America in downtown Atlanta. The meeting attracted entrepreneurs like Ken Warburton of Interior Random Interconnection Systems (IRIS), based in Hempstead, NY (www.irismdf.com). Warburton is trying to earn a patent for his company's telecom distribution frame that he hopes to market in the U.K.

France says this is the perfect time for American companies like IRIS to expand into the United Kingdom. He says major communications legislation went into effect in Britain this summer—including the creation of a super-regulator called OFCOM (Office of Communications), which will consolidate the U.K.'s five existing regulators and ease American manufacturing expansion efforts.

France describes the United Kingdom as Europe's leading market for data network services, hosting one of the world's largest data communications networks with more than 4.8 million kilometers of cable and optical-fiber infrastructure. He also touted the U.K.'s advancements in WiFi, with many network build-outs based on 802.11b. British Telecom and IBN recently announced major initiatives to deploy WiFi hot spots in public places across the U.K., and there are plans for thousands of WiFi hot spots in airports, railway stations, business centers, hotels and pubs.

France believes that innovative applications and services are likely to emerge from the rapid deployment of public wireless LAN technologies as they converge with the steady roll-out of third-generation networks across the U.K.

France also says the United Kingdom has demonstrated leadership in developing information systems security standards. He noted that the country developed the BS 7799 standard, which has evolved to become an international guideline for best practice in implementing IT security.

Dale Smith, vice consul and sector specialist for IT, Electronics and Communications at the British Consulate, San Francisco, also spoke at the event. Smith describes the U.K. market as "ripe" with opportunity for cabling start-ups and established players.

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