Newsletter — Contract 2, Part 1 announcement

Number of cabinets live to date: 126

Number of properties passed and now able to connect to the fibre network: 26,365

Contract 2 has now been signed

Following the procurement that was carried out towards the end of last year, and a robust evaluation of the information that was returned, Contract 2 between the CSW Broadband project and BT has now been signed. This contract differs from the first one in that it will be in a number of Parts, according to the funding that is available. The contract has been structured so that the additional funding can be brought in without the need for further procurement, which would only introduce delays.

Contract 2, Part 1, will take the fibre network much further, reaching some of the more challenging parts of our area, and will include a higher percentage of exchange only lines. We will see the introduction of new technologies throughout the contract which will bring even higher speeds and more reach from the cabinets.

This announcement will not affect the rollout of Contract 1, which continues until mid-2016. Details of the rollout for Contract 1 are given in the Rolling 12-month Plan, and Contract 2, Part 1 details will be added as the details becomes clearer.

As with the announcement of Contract 1, there is a lot of work still to do before we can give details of when the rollout will actually occur in each area. At present we have an indicative schedule of rollout commencing during the summer of 2016 and continuing until summer 2019. However, as with the current programme, we are working to accelerate this and over the next few months will be working closely with BT to ensure that we gain maximum efficiencies from the programming. This approach has borne fruit with Contract 1 where we are just 9 months into the rollout but are currently over 3 months ahead of schedule on the planned programme.

The potential coverage for Contract 2, Part 1 has been mapped. This is a single block colour only at present and, as with Contract 1, the colours will be introduced as the detail is known. There is a lot of surveying and other work to do before we get to the stage of being able to break things down into Phases though.

Click here for the latest map showing the Phasing for Contract 1 and the overall coverage for Contract 2, Part 1.

As previously, the coverage is dependent on the funding available. We have an offer of a total £9.68m from BDUK – and that requires match funding. We are currently able to draw down £4.06m of the BDUK funding and, as additional funding is confirmed, we will be modelling further coverage. In addition to the balance of £5.12 BDUK funding we are talking to partners about additional investment to extend the broadband rollout in their areas, and hope to secure this in the near future so that we can apply the additional money to the contract to get economies of scale by and to ensure a continuous rollout. We will be applying for EU funding when it becomes available, although the timescales and requirements for this are as yet unclear.

So, we are now announcing details of Contract 2, Part 1 and there will be more to follow.

The headline figures for Contract 2, Part 1 are:

  • Contract 2, Part 1 value: £10.6m
  • Contributions: Warwickshire County Council £3.68m; Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council £0.38m; BDUK £4.06m; BT £2.61m
  • Total number of homes that will be able to connect to the new network: 17,247
  • Total number of homes to achieve superfast speeds: 14,610

Click here for our short article (285 words) on this topic that you can use in your own newsletters or on websites.

Questions and Answers

If your question is not answered here then please take a look at the full Frequently Asked Questions list.

Why doesn’t the map show more detail for Contract 2, Part 1?

The current mapping of Contract 2, Part 1 is indicative only and subject to change in terms of coverage. As we move towards the rollout of Contract 2 there is a lot of surveying and planning work to be completed. It is only when the detailed surveys have been completed just before a Phase is about to start that we can have a reasonable degree of certainty about the deliverability of specific cabinets. We hope in the near future to be able to give an indication of Phases, but details about specific cabinets can’t be given until the relevant Phase appears on the rolling 12-month plan.

Why is there a gap between the end of rollout under Contract 1 and the start of Contract 2, Part 1?

The indicative rollout programme for Contract 2, Part 1 has yet to be determined and we hope to bring forward the total rollout. This will entail some smart planning to get the most from the available resources and to ensure that the network is developed using sound engineering logic.

I was in a white area under Contract 1, which meant that I could expect 2Mbps by 2016. My location now appears to be covered in Contract 2, Part 1. What does that mean in practice?

As above, the current mapping of Contract 2, Part 1 is indicative only and will be subject to change as the surveys progress. Moving from a Contract 1 white area to potential coverage under Contract 2, Part 1, means that instead of getting the Universal Service Commitment of 2Mbps, you could achieve superfast speeds. We can’t, at this stage, say when that improvement will be coming, but we are doing all that we can to determine the Phasing for Contract 2, Part 1  and will release that as soon as possible.

I am still in a white area on the map? Does that mean I get nothing?

You will still receive the Universal Service Commitment of a minimum 2Mbps through Contract 1, which is due to be completed by spring 2016. Because a range of technologies will be used, some areas will achieve speeds considerably in excess of 2Mbps, but we can’t say at this point who will get what.

As more money becomes available we will move into Contract 2, Part 2 (and so on), and additional coverage will be mapped. We are doing all that we can to bring in additional funding as it is in everyone’s interests that we gain maximum efficiencies by carrying out the installations in a single programme. We have also offered the Boroughs and Districts the opportunity to invest to extend the superfast broadband coverage within their areas.

Please note that the map has been developed using data based on postcodes. This means that the colour coding on the map can only provide an estimated network coverage. Please use the DSL checker (www.dslchecker.bt.com) to establish which cabinet your property is connected to. For the best results you will need to be able to enter a BT landline number for your property. If you do not have this then you can use your address, but it may be less accurate. Do not use the postcode checker as that covers too wide an area to be of any use. You can then check the specific cabinet on our Rolling 12-Month Plan.

Why are you referring to it as Contract 2, Part 1?

Because that is exactly what it is! We have a total offer £9.68m from BDUK – and that requires match funding. We are currently able to draw down £4.06m of the BDUK funding and as additional funding is confirmed we will be modelling further coverage. In addition to the balance of £5.12m BDUK funding, we are talking to partners about additional investment in the broadband rollout in their areas, and will be applying for EU funding when it becomes available. So, we are now announcing details of Contract 2, Part 1 and there will be more to follow.

I am on an exchange only (EO) line – what about me?

We are already upgrading some EO lines in Contract 1. This is more complicated (and more expensive) as there are greater engineering challenges. For instance, because EO lines don’t have the copper lines routed through a copper cabinet (PCP) there is no aggregation point to which we can connect the fibre cabinet (DSLAM). Therefore we have to install two cabinets and this creates additional challenges in terms of location in addition to the ones that we face for all DSLAMs with regard to the availability of power, avoiding existing services, road safety issues etc. Contract 2, Part 1, includes a considerably higher percentage of exchange only lines, and a lot of the more challenging locations that could not be brought into Contract 1.

It should be noted that because of the nature of the installation, it is not until the exchange only lines have actually been connected up to the new cabinets that we will know which properties will be able to benefit from the superfast broadband service. This creates challenges for us in terms of letting people know that the service is available!

Many more frequently asked broadband questions can be found on our website at: http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk/faq

Copy for your own website or newsletter

We regularly produce updates of around 350 words that can be used on your own website or in newsletters. There is a selection of articles available for download and you can select the most appropriate depending on where your particular area is in the rollout pipeline: Copy to use on your own website, newsletters or flyers

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