Broadband provision for South Gloucestershire

A statement from South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) on the state of their relationship with Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the government agency tasked with delivering fast broadband to the ‘final third’ of the country by 2015.

South Gloucestershire Council is committed to ensuring that all residents and businesses have access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband, and the social and economic benefits that it can bring.

The private sector broadband market will be providing superfast broadband to around two-thirds of communities over the next few years. However, it is essential that homes and businesses in areas in the remaining third of our communities are not left behind.

The government has set up a scheme to provide £530m of public sector funds to improve the broadband provision in these mostly rural communities. To ensure that South Gloucestershire is able to benefit from the scheme, the Council is working with BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK, who are responsible for allocating and distributing the £530m of public sector funding) to develop a local broadband plan setting out how those homes and businesses in the final third will benefit from improved broadband provision.

We are in the third phase of the BDUK national programme and expect to hear about our funding allocation later in the summer. The Council will then need to develop and submit the local broadband plan to BDUK for approval, provide 1:1 match funding and procure a private sector partner to contribute the rest of the funding required.

BDUK are setting up a national procurement framework for councils to use to procure the required broadband infrastructure from broadband providers. It is hoped that this framework will be in place next summer. We will ensure that our plan for South Gloucestershire is complete by this time.

It is expected that the private sector roll out will be completed by 2015, and our understanding is that the BDUK work will then follow.

We have already held meetings with commercial broadband providers as part of this process and are exploring options for joint working with neighbouring councils in order to deliver the best possible solution and the best value for money.

As part of our planning, we will be asking residents and businesses to get involved and help us assess demand for the service, later in the year.