Connecting Shropshire phase 2 procurement underway with further funding confirmed
In February 2014, Shropshire Council was allocated £11.38m as part of the Government’s commitment to improve broadband nationally and to provide access to superfast speeds for at least 90%* of premises in the Shropshire Council area by 2017. The funding was offered to the Council provided it could locate committed match funding on a £1 for £1 basis.
Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) has subsequently committed to supporting Shropshire Council with a further procurement up to the value of £11.38m, regardless of the Council’s ability to secure the necessary full match funding beforehand. The agreement was based on Shropshire Council’s commitment to continue to seek match funding. Yesterday (29 January) Culture Secretary Sajid Javid MP was in Shropshire to announce a £7.7m contribution to the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to support the roll-out of fibre broadband in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. The allocation for the Shropshire Council area is likely to be £5,150,000.
Following a Cabinet decision in December**, Shropshire Council is progressing with a phase 2 procurement that is currently out to tender under the existing ‘framework contract’ arrangements that BDUK have in place. The tender process and contract negotiations should be completed by the summer, although any work is unlikely to start until the current phase 1 contract is completed at the end of 2016.
The phase 2 procurement will be funded entirely from the £11.38m from BDUK. The match funding element from the Marches LEP will be used to assess the next most economical procurement route once the phase 2 procurement process has completed.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for broadband, said:
“This is great news for the people who live work and visit Shropshire. It means that we’ll be able to provide access to fibre based broadband for even more of the people who are struggling with slow and unreliable broadband speeds.
“Whilst I acknowledge that there’s still much work to be done, I’d like to publicly commend the Council officers involved in the Connecting Shropshire programme in getting us to this advantageous position.”
Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, said:
“This additional funding is excellent news for Shropshire and the extra funding from BDUK will help take superfast broadband to 90% of premises in the Shropshire Council area. The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to Shropshire’s economy.”
Notes to editors:
For more information, please contact Callum McLagan at the Shropshire Council press office on 01743 252826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(All Shropshire Council news stories can be read at http://shropshire.gov.uk/news/)
About Connecting Shropshire
The Connecting Shropshire programme is bringing fibre based broadband to areas where it isn’t economically viable for commercial companies to provide do so. It’s a partnership between Shropshire Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) that will enable more than 62,000 homes and businesses in Shropshire (excluding Telford and Wrekin) to access faster broadband by the end of 2016.
Connecting Shropshire programme website: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/
Photos showing the rollout of Connecting Shropshire can be downloaded for free from: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk1gij7M
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
- £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017
- £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
- £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. For further information, see: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk
* The national commitment is for 95% of premises to have access to superfast broadband (i.e. download speeds above 24mbps) by 2017
** The Cabinet report can be found on the following link: http://shropshire.gov.uk/committee-services/documents/s5312/19%20Connecting%20Shropshire%20Phase%202.pdf