Programme Delivery Model
Broadband Delivery Programme
over the last 5-10 years. The provision of broadband access to education establishments in particular means that a significant number of routes have potentially been readied for fibre rollout.
The strategy of the Public Sector Network (PSN) Programme in the Cabinet Office has long been rooted in the commoditisation and consolidation of public enterprise networks, e.g. health, police, education, local authorities, etc. It will create a network of networks in the public sector which are compliant with the PSN standards set by the PSN Programme. BDUK will work with the PSN Programme to provide guidance for local bodies to identify how best to exploit investments in PSN networks for public sector use.
When developing Local Broadband Plans local bodies should mention the potential for using public sector enterprise networks in an area. They should address any potential timescale impacts of this, including taking into account existing contractual constraints. They should also set out how other public bodies in the area will be involved, and allow for this in project planning and decision making.
A guiding principle for BDUK is to make best use of the market‟s existing capabilities in terms of „off-the shelf‟ products and services and „business as usual‟ processes. Given that this is a programme based on adding extensions to existing capabilities (networks) there are few „new requirements‟. As such the potential innovations are predominantly commercial and operational rather than technical. A few of these are outlined below.
BDUK funding is essentially a one-off capital investment to achieve „commercial sustainability‟ in the target market. This extends to further development, e.g. upgrades, in that the derived business and consumer revenues must fund future investments. This places an ever greater emphasis on achieving a reasonable level of take-up. As such, the technology roadmap of bidder‟s solutions will be important to ensure they are not investing in end-of-life or niche technologies that have an unknown development or upgrade path. This does not mean that technologies will be discounted, more that their inclusion might not be best on a widespread basis or as core to the entire architecture.
Standard Broadband solutions should be capable of being upgraded on a path to Superfast Broadband. Whether this is a new codec, algorithm, electro-magnetic spectrum or customer premise equipment, there is likely to be an increase in consumption over time and a desire to migrate all users up the broadband chain to Superfast Broadband and beyond. This offers bidders a real opportunity to innovate.
The scale of individual local broadband projects and their procurements is a key balance between economies of scale and the smaller bidders being accidentally excluded. This goes further in also impacting how attractive a wholesale network is to the retail sector. Having discussed this with a number of potential projects and potential suppliers in the market, BDUK will be promoting aggregation typically at the county level, and where feasible with multiple counties collaborating. This typically offers geographies of 100,000+ premises, not all being rural or right for investment, but a volume addressable by the market. Each will require a mix of network and access solutions from shared infrastructure with power distribution network operators (DNOs) to WiMax, mobile solutions such as LTE and satellite. Whilst all these solutions exist (with LTE in trials) today, the potential combination and integration of these will offer bidders an opportunity to address affordability through innovating the mix of technologies.
Investing in wholesale services implies that the supplier will need to offer similar wholesale products as BT Openreach, albeit, that these may be limited or constrained to basic open access. However, it will be necessary for any wholesaler to offer space for retailer(s) within any Community Broadband Hub or cabinet.