Phase 3 - Suffolk Broadband
The Suffolk Better Broadband Programme is extending coverage of better broadband connectivity across the county of Suffolk. Suffolk’s overarching aspiration is to deliver full coverage of better broadband services to all premises in Suffolk as soon as possible.
The programme, which started back in 2010, has seen more than 150,000 premises across Suffolk connected to Superfast Broadband infrastructure which were not in plans to be served by commercial providers. This brings the current total Superfast Broadband coverage in Suffolk to over 96% (as of May 2020), with plans currently in place to reach 98% coverage before the end of the year.
It has now been confirmed that an additional phase of the project has been agreed, which will extend coverage past 98%. This will provide connections to approximately 5,000 additional premises, including over 550 businesses, in some of the most rural parts of Suffolk. This work, which will be carried out by Openreach and their subcontractors, is set to start as soon as deployment under the current contract ends and will continue until September 2022. Once more details of the deployments under Phase 3 are confirmed, these will be published on our website.
Open Market Review
In preparation for this procurement, Suffolk conducted a Phase 3 open market review (OMR) between June 2018 and December 2018 to establish existing and planned (within the next 3 years) coverage of broadband infrastructure across Suffolk.
State Aid Public Consultation
The information collected through the Phase 3 Open Market Review, and Suffolk's own data sources, was used to define a proposed intervention area for the forthcoming procurement. A public consultation set out the proposed intervention area, so as to enable all interested stakeholders (including the public, businesses, internet service providers and broadband infrastructure operators) to comment on the proposals. In particular, this provided an opportunity for broadband infrastructure operators to review Suffolk’s mapping to ensure that it correctly represented the information provided by them in the course of the Phase 3 OMR.
Suffolk commenced market engagement and warming in March 2019, and held an initial series of ‘Bidder Information Days’ with interested bidders in March and April 2019. In May 2019, Suffolk issued a Prior Information Notice (PIN) for the Suffolk Phase 3 procurement, together with our outline requirements in the form of a Market Engagement Strategy document and online survey to enable feedback from potential bidders to be taken into account in the design of the scheme and to understand the capacity and capability of the market.
Phase 3 contract
Following the Phase 3 procurement, the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme announced that the work to provide connectivity to approximately 5,000 more premises in Suffolk will be carried out by Openreach. Openreach is the operator of the UK’s largest phone and broadband network, used by the likes of BT, Sky, Plusnet and TalkTalk. The next phase is set to start as soon as deployment under the current contract ends. Work delivered through the Phase 3 contract will continue until September 2022.