Connecting Shropshire

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Project Gigabit – Public Review

August 19, 2021 / Leave a comment / Permalink

Project Gigabit is a £5 billion government infrastructure project to enable and deliver fast, reliable broadband for the UK. The project is managed and funded by Building Digital UK (BDUK).

BDUK is carrying out a Public Review to help identify areas in Shropshire and Telford (Lot 25) that may be suitable for future public funding for gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure.

BDUK is seeking information and supporting evidence from infrastructure suppliers regarding the presence of gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure in the project area.

BDUK also want to hear from all relevant stakeholders including the public, businesses, internet service providers and broadband infrastructure operators; particularly in relation to the proposed mapped eligible areas.

This Public Review opens on 19 August and closes on 20 September 2021.

To respond to this Public Review, and for more information, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/uk-gigabit-programme-shropshire-public-review

Project Gigabit – summer update

August 3, 2021 / Leave a comment / Permalink

Shropshire Council is pleased to receive the Government’s Project Gigabit update which continues to prioritise Shropshire in an early deployment phase.

Since 2013, Shropshire Council’s Connecting Shropshire broadband programme has worked alongside Building Digital UK (BDUK), part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

Since 2014 coverage of superfast broadband has increased from 24% to 98% with over 68,000 premises directly benefitting.

Up to now Shropshire Council has been responsible for procurements. Under ‘Project Gigabit’ all procurements and contracts will be managed centrally by BDUK.

Rob Gittins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for digital, technology, data and insight, said:

“Improving broadband connectivity has always been a priority for Shropshire Council, but it’s even more important in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

I’m pleased to see that the Shropshire procurement will be the first to start in Phase 1b, with contracts due to commence in early 2023. The Connecting Shropshire broadband team will remain integral to the process and will work with BDUK to get equitable broadband coverage across the Shropshire Council area.

In the meantime, Airband are continuing to deploy their ‘fibre to the premises’ broadband network in some of the hardest-to-reach areas in Shropshire. By the end of the contract, over 2,000 premises will have access to gigabit-capable broadband network solutions (shown as pink dots on the Connecting Shropshire broadband coverage map).”

Prior to any formal procurement process commencing any eligible premises in the Shropshire Council area will still be able to apply for a UK Gigabit Voucher. Shropshire Council added £1 million to ‘top-up’ the national scheme to make this as attractive as possible to suppliers and encourage them to support projected ‘superfast gap’ premises. It means homes and small businesses in the county can now claim up to £4,000 or £7,000 respectively to cover the costs of building a gigabit-capable broadband network. Funding remains available on a first come, first served basis.

The next milestone towards BDUK commencing a formal procurement will be a ‘Public Review’ process to validate the coverage information where public funding can be invested. This will run for one month and is expected to start later in August. We will formally announce when this process starts on our website.

More information about the Voucher Scheme can be found on the Connecting Shropshire website, or by contacting the team on 01743 252203 or connecting.shropshire@shropshire.gov.uk

Newsletter, May 2021

May 10, 2021 / Leave a comment / Permalink

News from Connecting Shropshire on the following topics:

Re-launch of the Broadband Voucher Scheme

Government’s UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme can help rural communities to get access to a gigabit-capable broadband connection.

Broadband coverage map updated

Connecting Shropshire has updated its current and projected superfast broadband coverage map.

To view the newsletter, please click on the following link: 20210510-Connecting-Shropshire-broadband-programme-update-May-2021.pdf

Open Market Review launched

March 25, 2021 / Leave a comment / Permalink

Building Digital UK (BDUK) have today launched the Open Market Review (OMR) inviting broadband infrastructure suppliers to provide information about their current/planned coverage in Shropshire. BDUK will use OMR responses to inform the size and scale of the intervention areas for its procurements in Project Gigabit.
For more information about the OMR process, please click here.
The closing date is: 22nd April 2021.

Project Gigabit – Phase 1 delivery plan revealed

March 22, 2021 / Leave a comment / Permalink

Shropshire Council is pleased to hear that the county is included in Phase 1b of the government’s Project Gigabit announcement.

Since 2013, Shropshire Council’s Connecting Shropshire broadband programme has worked alongside Building Digital UK (BDUK) to provide improved broadband connectivity across the Shropshire Council area. Since 2014, coverage of superfast broadband has increased from 24% to 94%.

Previous broadband infrastructure procurements were undertaken by Shropshire Council, but these will now be managed by BDUK. We look forwards to continuing to work with BDUK to provide more gigabit broadband coverage in Shropshire.

Chris Taylor, Broadband Manager at Shropshire Council, said: “We have been working with BDUK on the next iteration of the national broadband programme for some time. The announcement that Shropshire is in an early phase of delivery is a positive and rewarding outcome. We now need to work through the detail with BDUK. As soon as we receive more information, which we understand is likely to be late summer, then this will be shared widely.”

The next step towards BDUK commencing a formal procurement requires an Open Market Review (OMR) to identify Telecoms Providers’ current and planned gigabit-capable broadband coverage. BDUK is expected to launch an OMR process during spring. The OMR will be followed by a Public Review to validate the coverage information provided by Telecoms Providers. This is expected later this summer.

Alongside the upcoming procurement, the government has also announced that the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, which is currently closed to new applications in Shropshire, will be re-launched in April.

In September 2020, Shropshire Council added up to £1 million of additional funding to ‘top-up’ the national Voucher Scheme.

Any underspend from last financial year will be carried forward to the new Scheme and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis when the scheme relaunches.

More information about the Voucher Scheme can be found on the Connecting Shropshire website or by contacting the team on 01743 252203 or connecting.shropshire@shropshire.gov.uk

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