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Cotswolds Broadband Tender for GBP6.8m FTTP Rollout in West Oxfordshire

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 (11:11 am) - Score 958

The Cotswolds Broadband project, which has long planned to roll-out an open access 100Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to the majority of homes and businesses in West Oxfordshire (Chipping Norton), has now secured £6.8m in funding and is preparing to issue its Invitation To Tender for a supplier.

At present the central Better Broadband for Oxfordshire project is currently only working with BT, which is extending the telecom giants local superfast broadband access (24Mbps+) to 90% of the county by the end of 2015 (potentially rising to 95% by 2017 under BDUK’s extension programme).

Readers might recall that the county situation changed in May 2014 after the West Oxfordshire District Council agreed to put some of its own public funding towards the non-BT alternative Cotswolds Broadband project (here), which predominantly focused on the Chipping Norton area.

Today that same project looks set to celebrate after announcing that it had secured a commitment for £3.2 million of private investment alongside the previously announced investment of £1.6 million from West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) and a grant of up to £1.6 million from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). It is one of the rare non-BT deals to win funding from BDUK.

As a result Cotswolds Broadband said that they’d now secured the initial capital required to provide “up to 100 per cent of households and businesses across West Oxfordshire with access to superfast broadband“, with work commencing March 2015.

Hugo Pickering, Cotswolds Broadband CEO, said:

We are very pleased to be able to confirm this private investment, which helps us to realise the collective ambitions of central government, the local authority and the local communities. We now move to the next phase of completing the picture of superfast broadband in West Oxfordshire.”

Cllr Richard Langridge, Cabinet Member for Communities, said:

This is excellent news and a significant step towards our goal of achieving as close as possible to 100% broadband coverage in West Oxfordshire. We are delighted that the confidence that we and the Government have shown in this project is being matched by private investors.”

Apparently the necessary Invitation To Tender (ITT) is to be issued shortly, which will define the premises within West Oxfordshire and invite companies and consortia to tender for the project (i.e. choose a supplied etc.).

As previously reported the network is likely to be a mix of pure fibre optic connectivity and some fixed wireless broadband provision, focusing on areas outside of BT’s existing BDUK footprint.

UPDATE 2:09pm

In related news Broadway Partners has announced that Mark Melluish will be joining as Managing Director with immediate effect. Mark is said to bring extensive experience to the business from his 30 years in the telecoms and broadband industry. He has most recently been providing independent consultancy to Local Authorities for their broadband plans and implementation, following senior positions at Rutland Telecom, of which he was the founder, and at Nokia.

Leave a Comment
11 Responses
  1. Avatar Steve Jones says:

    As this is a wholesale service, it’s going to be interesting to see how many ISPs feel it’s worthwhile offering a service. The systems integration issues are significant as there are a whole host of things to deal with. That ranges from defining the retail product to configuration management, wholesale interfaces for ordering, cease, billing and problem management. Whilst I’ve no doubt there will be manual interfaces available to ISPs, they still have to deal with all the training issues and front-end customer handling for a relatively small number of customers. Then there are issues such as network management for the interface.

    Of course, the wholesale service might provide all the network management, authentication, IP address provision and possibly even customer handling interfaces. In that case, the retail offering is just a thin veneer.

    These issues should not be underestimated. Scale matters. Witness how little retaile support there is for GEA-FTTP services.

    1. Avatar gerarda says:

      It will also be interesting to see how many being offered the faster service compared to the sod all a lot will be getting now will be worried about a lack of retail choice.

    2. Avatar GNewton says:

      “The systems integration issues are significant as there are a whole host of things to deal with.” This sounds like one of those typical ‘Can’t do’ people 🙂

    3. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      @GNewton

      So an ad-hominen attack, and not dealing with the issues. The OR GEA-FTTP product is availble on about 140,000 premises, yet is not widely supported.

      I should also say I spent 35 years in the IT industry on huge projects, many of which have involved exactly these issues. It’s not a matter of can it be done, it’s whether it is cost effective. That’s a commercial issue which can, of course, be over-ruled by strategic considerations, but at a cost.

      But if you want a lesson in realities, then I suggest you get yourself involved in complex multi-layer, multi-provider retail services and start learning about the real problems rather than quoting sub-par macho-management aphorisms. There are many, many integration projects which have failed, or been heavily delayed, due to underestimating the issues.

    4. Avatar No Clue says:

      “…I should also say I spent 35 years in the IT industry on huge projects, many of which have involved exactly these issues…”

      No wonder it is a sorry mess here.

    5. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      @No Clue

      You flatter me. Whilst I’d like to believe that it’s all due to me, then proper credit is due to the many tens of millions of people who have worked incredibly hard to make all large scale IT projects you describe.

      Of course, it’s not that it’s nothing to do with large scale systems integration being an exacting and, inevitably, rather expensive discipline…

    6. Avatar Raindrops says:

      I think he meant anything you were involved in is a mess rather than the millions of other projects you thankfully were let nowhere near.

    7. Avatar Abuse Alert says:

      Time for some moderation here when a posters only contribution is personal abuse.

    8. Avatar No Clue says:

      Thankfully much as you scream and complain nobody listens to you or your flights of fantasy of 35+ years in big IT projects.

    9. Avatar Abuse Alert says:

      How about you tell us about your knowledge and experience of IT systems integration projects.

  2. Avatar Patrick Cosgrove says:

    Well done Broadway. Welldone WODC – a local authority with imagination and balls.

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