Website URL : http://wsx-donnington-pc.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=20966

Letter in regards to West Sussex plans to make Superfast Broadband services accessible across the West Sussex

This letter is to let you know of the latest steps in our plans to make Superfast

Broadband services accessible across the West Sussex. As you know we aim to

do this using funds committed by the County Council, BDUK (Broadband

Development UK, the government department responsible for the programme)

together with that expected from the private sector.

Before we can do that the European Union have to agree that state aided funds

can be used for the purpose of enabling private industry to achieve something

for the public good. We understand that this permission to proceed will be given

to BDUK this 'autumn'.

We have been also been unable so far to take the first step in assessing where

to target the funding, which is to carry out an Open Market Review (OMR) with

suppliers to map their current and future (up to three years') planned coverage

of broadband services.

Regrettably this has been delayed by discussions taking place between the two

suppliers signed up to the BDUK framework (BT Openreach and Fujitsu) and

BDUK itself over the management of the process of contracting with all of those

local authorities who have applied.

The suppliers themselves have expressed concern that not all of the 42 local

authorities are ready to engage in pre-procurement activity and as a result of

this BDUK introduced a new assurance process to ensure the readiness of each

project.

We have been agitating BDUK to allow us to progress and last week were one of

the first local authority projects to successfully complete the assurance process

and have now been able to publish our OMR and send it to potential suppliers.

This is good news. It has allowed us to take a significant step forward and collect

the information on which we will base a mapped assessment of the county

showing where no superfast broadband services are currently available, or are

planned for future investment by technology suppliers. We can then plot which

areas fall into scope for funding by the project as they require public sector

investment to make it commercially viable for broadband network suppliers to

build the infrastructure for superfast services.

Once we have completed the OMR we will then carry out consultation with

suppliers and the wider public (residents, businesses, district, borough and

parish councils) about the areas where we can legally apply the funding. This is

to both to check back with suppliers that within our mapping we have drawn the

right conclusions, and allow the public the opportunity to comment.

Suppliers have now made it clear to BDUK that in order to meet the increasingly

challenging deadline of 2015 a number of concessions inevitably need to be

made. They have requested that as far as possible local authorities keep

contract negotiations short by agreeing upfront not to request prioritisation of

geography, timing or premises for the technology to be rolled out to. BDUK has

agreed to this, and so have we. However, it need not preclude us from putting

forward our own prioritisation preferences to the selected supplier once they are

engaged. Inevitably, though, this will mean some negotiation to find the most

economical solution.

These activities will ultimately inform our Invitation to Tender (ITT) which we

had hoped to publish before the end of the year. It's now apparent that as a

result of the delays, we will do this early next year and aim to sign a contract

with the preferred supplier in early summer 2013.

Our timescales may have slipped by a few months, but we are still on target to

complete delivery of the project by the deadline of April 2015.

I hope you find this information useful to share with your colleagues.

Kind regards

Lionel Barnard

Deputy Leader & portfolio for Communities, Environment & Enterprise