Malcolm Corbett, INCA
Our co-op, Independent Networks Co-operative Association is an association of businesses, community organisations and local authorities active in promoting fibre and wireless broadband networks throughout the UK. In membership we now have big names like Vodafone alongside new entrants like CityFibre, Gigaclear and B4RN (a co-op).
By getting them to join together as a co-op we are embedding the idea of co-operation in a new sector of economic activity. The advantage of a co-op structure for an organisation like INCA is that it facilitates action both as a lobbying force on behalf of its members and it can trade on its own account for its members’ mutual benefit. We now have the first example of a private company joining forces with a local co-operative to build a new rural fibre network.
The proposal is for the movement to support the creation of more co-operative associations that bring businesses and other organisations together to address common needs. In this way we help familiarise owners and executives of private (public and community) organisations with co-operative forms of organisation for mutual benefit. By doing this we will help overcome a broad perception that co-operatives are largely about supermarkets and a troubled bank.
To put this idea into practice we need to discuss the best ways to promote the benefits of co-operatives as a form of association amongst key trade bodies, organisations and sectors.
The first step would be to identify key groups to influence and develop a programme of engagement.
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