Like a lot of people, I was shocked when Britain voted to leave the EU. The ramifications of this decision are large. For those of us remaining here in Europe, but most of all for those in the UK. The biggest blow will be economical, of course. And it will be felt throughout the UK.
For starters, services like Netflix will become more expensive in the UK. UK citizens will also miss out on the new European deals for low cellular data roaming cost. And on a larger scale, it is going to hurt the position of the country, more specifically London, as a telecommunications hub for fibre optic cables. Today, many of the cables that connect the European mainland and the US still run through London.
I think that in future new cable systems will be planned around the uncertain situation in the UK, probably choosing Ireland instead. It is already happening; Telefonica is running their cable directly from Spain to Virginia in the US, where in the past they would have naturally chosen London in the middle. I am not saying this specific has to do with Brexit, but I do feel it is a sign on the wall and this will happen more and more in the future.
Another thing I heard a lot of people talking about, is data protection. UK inhabitants may feel “liberated from the European rules” in this regard. However the UK has their own Data Protection Act of 1999 instituted by the UK itself – not mandated by the EU – which enabled the UK to do business with EU countries, more specifically: storing data of European citizens. I’m sure they still want this business and keep their own Data Protection Act in place. So your data is safe!
Whatever will happen now that Britain chose to leave the EU, is anybody’s guess. I know that I will think twice about expanding to the UK with networks and my business. Given the uncertainty of what will happen economically, we will see European Internet Exchanges flourish and keep growing while LINX in London in the longer term will suffer a blow and not grow as quickly as their mainland colleagues. We’ll see – in the end, only time will tell.