Phase 3 - Procurement
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.
Suffolk has also considered the ability of the private sector to deliver the project, available resources, and its own capacity and capability to develop its approach to intervention. It has decided that the project will use an investment gap funding approach to procure an infrastructure provider.
The procurement will be carried out in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and EU Public Procurement Directives. The tender is most likely to utilise the Open Procedure and will be conducted in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner, as required by the 2016 NBS.
The procurement will be designed to meet the specific requirements of the 2016 NBS, which recognises the need to optimise the number and quality of bidders, in particular by reducing the hurdles to participation in procurements by smaller suppliers and encouraging collaboration between larger and smaller operators so that a range of appropriate solutions can be brought forward. This was also a key objective of the market engagement exercise. When the procurement is launched, the NGA white areas are likely to be sub-divided into a number of lots or areas to promote this. However, Suffolk does not discount the possibility that some or all of these lots may be aggregated if this represents the most economically advantageous approach to meeting the requirements set out in its Invitation to Tender.
Suffolk’s priority will be to ensure that the available public funding is used most effectively by ensuring coverage of premises currently getting relatively slow broadband speeds (<24Mbps or <15Mbps). However, areas with higher speeds may be targeted, subject to the need to provide a ‘step change’ in broadband capability (as outlined above). In addition, Suffolk is seeking to target certain NGA white areas to provide ultra-fast broadband capability with speeds well above 100Mbps and it should be noted that the areas to be targeted with ultra-fast broadband are most likely to be areas with a higher concentration of SMEs and businesses.
Suffolk intends to re-invest gainshare from its existing broadband contracts, £1.725m of funding from the DEFRA Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), and other sources of funding currently being secured.
In total public funding of up to £15m may be committed via the forthcoming procurement.
As the above changes represented revisions to the outcome of our Suffolk Phase 3 State Aid public consultation, we carried out a further consultation, which ended on the 15th October 2019.
Documents and links:
Please note: Market Engagement process is now closed.
Market Engagement online survey (now closed)
Market Engagement Strategy document (PDF - 436KB)