Programme Delivery Model
Broadband Delivery Programme
communication services. This is essential to establishing customer choice and permitting competition for retail services.
The provision of wholesale connectivity components which can be ordered online and which are suitable for service providers to package with the elements of an internet access service is a key component of the requirement.
There may be exceptions, such as the case of community extended networks, where the small number of customers means it is neither practical nor economic to invest in creating a wholesale variant of the service provided. However, the guiding principle should be to ensure wholesale access to services whenever public money is used and is proportionate to the outcome being sought.
Retail access platform
There is a risk that public investment in broadband infrastructure will result in the creation of a patchwork quilt of „islands of connectivity‟ across the UK. These would be made up of vertically integrated networks where the retail service provider and the wholesale network operator are the same company, and the only connectivity outside of the network itself is at the internet peering point. This means that if a retail service provider or other organisation (either private sector or public sector) wishes to provide services it will need to connect to that network directly or provide them over the public internet. For services that require a higher level of quality of service (e.g. IPTV, remote health monitoring), the public internet will not be good enough, and connecting directly with each and every network will be expensive and time consuming.
If the chosen supplier is a national operator this will not be a problem as the size of their network means that service providers are already all „plugged in‟ and they provide a product to allow differing levels of Quality of Service to be applied (Wholesale Content Connect). This is usually achieved by offering a retail access platform that not only provides a common access but a common operational support service for customer and service management.
The major suppliers have developed such access platforms based on having the scale of market to support such investments. However, there are few fully developed solutions for the smaller suppliers who offer retailer service providers relatively small markets and difficult integrations. It is assumed that retail access solutions will emerge as, or shortly after, local procurements progress albeit with a possible time lag and slow growth curve from both the retail and wholesale markets.
State Aid requires „open access‟ so local wholesale networks must be open to the retail market. Whether this is smaller local retailers or the large national brands, is driven by the internet access cost and operational simplicity. If every retailer wishing to compete in local areas of the new networks needs to provide internet access and a unique operational interface, it would not be a surprise that few can make a reasonable economic case.
To address the potential outcomes, BDUK will encourage, as State Aid dictates, open retail access that is allowed to grow as more homes and businesses are able to access broadband services. This will be achieved by embedding the associated commercial and technical provisions within the core requirements outlined in section 12.3 above. BDUK will explore further with industry whether any further actions are required to ensure that sufficient open retail access is available for local broadband projects.
Target operating model
The target operating model for a local broadband project is simply how the services made available by the investment will be managed in steady state once the implementation is