Project Gigabit – Phase 1 delivery plan revealed
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.