By: MarkJ - 4 November, 2010 (8:08 AM)
wales mapA leaked internal note from the UK coalition government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has revealed the real reason behind why Wales was not included in several recently announced "super-fast" Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband pilots; it's plan was apparently rubbish.

The leaked note to Wales Online said:

" was evident from the proposal that we received from WAG (Welsh Assembly Government) that they had not put much effort into applying for a pilot – there was more text in one answer box in the Herefordshire proposal than in the entire Welsh proposal.

The Welsh pilot proposal was to use the existing FibreSpeed project (where WAG has given money to Geo to create a fibre network in North Wales connecting business parks) as the basis for extending this fibre to a number of areas in North West Wales and then use a mixture of fibre and high speed wireless.

While the extension of an existing project provided benefits in terms of an existing team and a ready made strategic infrastructure investment, the potential lack of competitive tension (as Geo is already the FibreSpeed supplier), the difficulty of applying lessons learned elsewhere (FibreSpeed probably isn’t replicable) and the lack of diversity of lessons learned meant that the other proposals were more attractive as pilots."

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) first raised its frustrations last month after the Chancellor's (George Osborne) Spending Review (here) only listed four pilot locations in the Highlands and Islands (Scotland), Cumbria, North Yorkshire and the Golden Valley, Herefordshire (England).

The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, did little to help by suggesting that its Herefordshire pilot was "on the border" and would benefit some parts of Wales too. However an Assembly Government spokesman claims that it did, "put together a robust case for Wales", and was surprised by the new document.

WAG has subsequently blamed any limited input on the fact that they were specifically asked by the government to stay within the application template so as to make the process, "easier for (DCMS) to manage".
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Comments: 3

asa logoFibreGuy
Posted: 16 November, 2010 - 11:31 PM
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It will be interesting to see how the Big Society vanguard for rural broadband, in Rory Stewart MP's Penrith & the Border constituency specifically and more widely across Messrs Fallon and Stevenson's seats in Cumbria, chooses to learn from the Welsh Assembly approach.

The use of broadband vouchers on a per property basis, when combined with a togetherness incentive, offers an effective way to put procurement options into the hands of those who will have to live with the result chosen

Togetherness can be factored in via adding an extra third value per voucher IF pooled with the majority community (parish perhaps) view)
asa logosmurf
Posted: 18 March, 2011 - 8:54 AM
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I'm left with the impression that BDUK is tied up in bureaucratic procedures, which I suspect will mean that much, perhaps even most, of its financial contribution will go on administration and consultants costs. No doubt it'll keep a few people employed but net result for the poor consumers and taxpayers, very little. Why does everything in government in this country have to be replicated at several levels? Oh stupid me, I forgot, to satisfy political egos and the civil service mentality! Don't blame the EU, other Member states manage better.
asa logoSomerset
Posted: 18 March, 2011 - 9:04 AM
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It would help if FibreGuy could explain exactly what he means by vouchers and how they would be used in detail.

or maybe he can't...

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