How the programme is funded
The programme has been in operation since 2014 and in those five years nearly £31m has been invested through a variety of funding partners which include Central Government, Openreach and the area’s district, borough and City councils in conjunction with the County Council.
The first phase of the programme involved a very large and technically complex rollout. An invitation to tender was provided via the national framework in February 2013 to evaluate and select the delivery partner for the programme. After the two tender applications were evaluated from BT and Fujitsu, BT was chosen as the delivery partner for phase one. Beginning in August 2013 and running until March 2016, it involved laying over 1 million mitres of fibre optic cable, the installation of 2,500 distribution points and more than 92,000 hours of construction time across a programme area of Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire, covering Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood and Rushcliffe districts. By the conclusion of the programme - fibre connections had been provided for over 62,000 properties.
Following on from the success of the first phase which placed Nottinghamshire in the vanguard position as one of the best connected counties within the UK, a second phase was planned, in order to provide coverage to areas of Bassetlaw and Newark & Sherwood which were some way behind the coverage received by the rest of the county. An Open Market Review was planned and conducted to establish the existing and planned (over the next 3 years) commercial coverage of broadband services across the county from broadband infrastructure providers. Following the OMR and public consultation, the second phase (Superfast Extension Programme), the contract was officially signed in May 2015 with BT Openreach, and would bring fibre broadband to an additional 17,000 premises, with deployment planned to begin immediately.
The third phase of the programme seeks to provide fibre connections to an additional 2,500 homes within Bassetlaw and Newark and Sherwood districts after the contract was awarded to BT Openreach, following a lengthy public consultation and Open OJEU procurement process. In addition, Openreach are providing Fibre to the Premises connections for the third phase of delivery. This full fibre connection means ultrafast speeds of up to 330 Mbps – around ten times quicker than the current UK average. The project continues to both explore and attract additional funding sources to help deliver to the areas where there are no coverage plans. Following a successful European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) application, £1 million of funding has been secured which will be used to further extend superfast broadband coverage to a further 1,051 premises (256 businesses and 975 residentials) within Bassetlaw and Newark and Sherwood districts. Delivery of services are underway with structures being brought live as of June 2019.