Background: Connecting Worcestershire since 2012
In 2012 Worcestershire County Council, with the support of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), started on an ambitious programme to implement a multi-million pound superfast broadband network for the county.
The original objectives were that everyone in the County would have access to broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps; and that superfast broadband would be available to 90% of the County both homes and businesses by 2016.
By improving the connectivity of residents, through the most appropriate technologies such as wireless, mobile and fibre, Worcestershire County Council will enable residents to improve their quality of life and provide economic opportunities and growth.
Understanding the range of communities within the County from rural areas to urban towns, meant that there were significant challenges to ensure digital inclusion for all and that rural areas were not left behind.
Over the years the programme has continued to keep pace with increasing reliance of residents and businesses on connectivity and services provided. Residents are increasingly using on-demand services and video streaming within the home, homeworking requiring access to cloud services as well as businesses setting up in rural areas. Connectivity requirements have also become more mobile as technology improves and services are provided in the wider community.
This has meant that Worcestershire County Council has continually reviewed and evaluated the current position. As the digital landscape has changed the council has invested further capital to the programme as well as gaining grants from BDUK to ensure that it meets its digital vision and that of government.
As part of the further investments, Worcestershire County Council ran several Open Market Reviews (OMRs). While not a specific requirement under the European Commission’s Broadband Guidelines or the National Broadband Scheme, an OMR enables early market engagement and assists the council with understanding the broadband infrastructure already in place across Worcestershire. An OMR also provides information around planned investment in the broadband infrastructure in the coming three years by broadband providers. This research provided Worcestershire County Council with a better understanding of the design of supplier intervention areas, the areas it can support the delivery of high-speed broadband. OMRs are run before the State Aid Public Consultation stage on the proposed intervention areas, ensuring the additional public funding is used to target areas of failure, with no planned provision.
BDUK’s UK Gigabit Programme is launched in phased contracts to those hard to reach parts of the UK that will need government support towards the cost of gigabit-capable broadband – further information can be viewed at BDUK’s site (opens in a new window).
Worcestershire are within Phase 1b and the Open Market Review is now closed, and a Public Consultation will start soon.
- 2021 – Open Market Review – closed
- 2016 – Public Consultation: Connecting Worcestershire (contract 3)
- 2015 – Open Market Review – closed
- 2014 – Public Consultation: Connecting Worcestershire (contract 2)
- 2014 – Open Market Review – closed
- 2013 – Public Consultation: Superfast Worcestershire (contract 1)
- 2013 – Open Market review – closed
- 2012 – Worcestershire Local Broadband Plan: Connecting Worcestershire
- 2012 – Community Pathfinder Project with Airband
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