Programme Delivery Model
Broadband Delivery Programme
Local Community Groups
This section describes how local communities can be engaged in the development, promotion, and in some cases delivery of broadband services. This can be seen to be part of the Big Society agenda.
Localism and decentralisation is at the heart of the Government‟s agenda. Whilst the majority of local communities are not expected to develop their own local projects, it is anticipated that a significant minority will want to be more involved in the upgrade of broadband infrastructure. Communities can play a big role in ensuring the delivery of broadband services for their communities.
The Big Society agenda promotes the empowerment and self-sufficiency of local communities in shaping their own local services including the provision of broadband. It is expected that some local communities will want to take a leading role in working with the public and private sectors to organise investment and setting up community enterprises to develop networks.
BDUK consider representative ‟community groups‟ to be a group of people living in the same locality with a common interest in achieving broadband connectivity. The group is likely to be part of the same administrative entity, sharing some common services, (such as a Parish Council). It is expected that the group would be represented by a recognised „local champion‟ who will work with a steering group comprising people with appropriate knowledge, expertise and influence, to oversee and inform the approach.
Where appropriate parish councils may be invited to endorse the approach, participate in it and possibly lead it. Parish councils would be expected to verify that the community has voted for the proposed access solution and insure groups are making an informed decision. In creating a representative community it is expected that the „group‟ is large enough to form a critical mass such that any broadband service is coherent, is financially viable and can benefit from economies of scale. Experience suggests that at least 100 households are required and the grouping should be sufficiently concentrated as to be able to connect to a single point of presence. Those proposing community access solutions should demonstrate financial backing for the proposal by ensuring a minimum proportion of the community (say 40%) have agreed to pay a specified connection charge and on-going monthly rental. Where the solution is to be provisioned and billed with a local provider, then the parish council should be happy that customers have had the solution explained to them including the details of the service levels being promised.
Different communities will require different solutions to suit their unique circumstances, (for example combinations of fibre based and wireless solutions may need to be deployed). It will be important to engage communities in determining what those circumstances and their priorities are. They may well need to find ways in which they can facilitate the development by making a financial contribution to the capital cost or by donating wayleaves and volunteer labour digging ducts and undertaking fibre installation. In some circumstances a community interest company may be an appropriate vehicle for owning and managing the network.