State Aid Public Consultation into Faster Broadband Coverage - Closure Note
The Connecting Cheshire Partnership is striving to extend the availability of Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure to meet the Government’s target for full fibre coverage by 2033 . To support achieving this, Connecting Cheshire intends to procure further coverage of NGA broadband infrastructure (capable of delivering download speeds of at least 30 Mbps) in areas within its Programme Area where such broadband is currently unavailable, by the end of 2023.
Geographically, Connecting Cheshire covers Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington Borough Council areas. The overarching aspiration of Connecting Cheshire Local Broadband Plan is to deliver ‘ NGA for all’. We are now looking to provide NGA access to further premises across our area.
The Public Consultation Outcome
The Partnership carried out a public consultation from 6 March to 6 April 2020 requesting information on, and supporting evidence for, any current or planned (within the next 3 years) investment in broadband infrastructure across the Connecting Cheshire Area, where this may not be already included within the proposed NGA and Basic broadband intervention area. The public consultation followed an Open Market Review (OMR) with the telecoms market in September and October 2019, where suppliers provided information on existing infrastructure and commercial plans in the project area.
Following the public consultation process, the eligible Intervention Area for the project has been determined. These are labelled ‘ NGA white areas’ under state aid colour code naming practice. The final state aid maps for NGA Broadband and Basic Broadband are included below.
Connecting Cheshire intends to conduct a procurement in respect of the remaining area without NGA broadband infrastructure, which comprises around 21,920 premises.
The table below summarises indicative dates for key stages for the planned procurement. More detailed information would be available in the chest procurement portal.
Planned procurement for NGA
|Issue of Contract Notice
|Closure of Expressions of Interest
|Code of Conduct Acceptance
|Clarification Question process
||June to August 2020
|Bidder response due
|Evaluation and Clarification
|Preferred Bidder Notification
|Contract Finalisation and Governance
Revised State Aid Maps
The following criteria have been used to determine the NGA classification of areas:
- a postcode is classed ‘grey’ if there is only one broadband infrastructure operator providing NGA services (supporting minimum speeds of at least 30 Mbps) to all premises in that postcode
- a postcode is classed ‘black’ if there are at least two broadband infrastructure operators providing NGA services (supporting minimum speeds of at least 30 Mbps) to all premises in that postcode
- all other postcodes remain ‘white’ (no NGA service)
In addition, the proposed Intervention Area includes a number of “under review” areas (coloured blue on the map). These are areas where there is uncertainty that NGA services have or will be delivered, or have been reported through the OMR as being ‘at risk’ of not being completed.
Areas that potentially have NGA white premises but where individual premises cannot yet be identified have also been marked “under review”. These areas will be subject to continued monitoring and verification of operator plans by Connecting Cheshire within a 3 year period and in the event that these commercial plans fall-away, or it is confirmed that there is no coverage, these premises will be mapped as NGA white and may form part of the eligible Intervention Area via this aid measure.
The mapping analysis of existing and planned coverage (within the next 3 years) has identified remaining ‘white NGA ’ areas. The outcome of the Public Consultation is summarised below in terms of NGA White, Grey, Black and “under review” premises in NGA White, Grey, Black and “under review” postcodes.
|Postcodes status||Total number of postcodes ||Number of black premises||Number of grey premises||Number of white premises||Number of under review premises |
|NGA Under Review
The Connecting Cheshire Intervention Area includes 21,920 NGA White premises, however there are an additional 2,093 Under Review premises that could potentially be brought into scope of the procurement if plans are not completed and this is confirmed by the monitoring team.
There are 32 postcodes believed to have no access to a Basic Broadband service through existing commercial operators.
State Aid Maps
Status of Intervention Area
The State Aid Public Consultation is now closed. The Connecting Cheshire Team have submitted a State aid (Part 1) notification to the National Competence Centre (part of the Department for Culture Media and Sport) which oversees the UK National Broadband Scheme. A decision on the eligibility of the proposed Intervention Area is expected in June 2020. If clearance is granted, the Intervention Areas mapped above will be confirmed as eligible for public sector intervention for the forthcoming procurement.
If you have any queries on the process please email:firstname.lastname@example.org