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Capita Win £6m Full Fibre Contract to Upgrade Norfolk UK

Thursday, February 20th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 1,129

As well as securing a £7.5m four-year contract extension to continue providing network and IT services to Norfolk County Council (NCC) in England, Capita has today also announced that they’ve picked up the £6m contract to deploy a new “full fibre” network to reach local public sector sites.

The £6m investment in Norfolk forms part of the UK Government’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) programme. The plan is for the new gigabit speed full fibre network to reach 230 schools and 108 public sector buildings, including council offices, libraries, and fire and rescue sites.

All of this should indirectly help to complement the existing Better Broadband for Norfolk (BBfN) project, which separately continues to work with Openreach (BT) in order to expand the coverage of “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+ via FTTC or FTTP) ISP networks to cover 95% of the county by April 2020.

The following map gives a rough indication of where all of the planned full fibre sites are under the new contract.

norfolk_planned_full_fibre_sites

One slight oddity in all this is that NCC actually allocated £7.766m to the full fibre programme in July 2019, although it’s unclear how the other £1.766m is being spent. We did try to have a snoop through the council’s recent meeting docs but alas they don’t provide a search system (there are masses of documents to check through) and we eventually gave up the hunt.

Councillor Tom FitzPatrick said:

“We are constantly working with our council departments and local businesses to understand how services can be delivered in a more efficient way. The full-fibre network and IoT rollout will enhance and improve how our communities access our services. It will also place us in a very good position to extend digital services in the future.”

Mark Cook, Executive Officer of Capita’s Technology Solutions Division, said:

“This extension is secured on the strength of a longstanding relationship with Norfolk. Our innovative technologies will deliver better outcomes for these communities and local businesses. It places Capita at the heart of Norfolk’s long-term strategy to become the best-connected rural county in the UK.”

As with all such LFFN projects it’s conceivable that, once built, they could also provide a future platform from which commercial investment may be used to expand gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband ISP networks out to homes and local businesses. This would of course be entirely separate work from the aforementioned contract.

Additionally, Capita has supplied Norfolk County Council with more than 120 Long-Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) ‘gateways’. The gateways form a connection between battery-operated sensors and devices to the Internet of Things (IoT). Norfolk currently uses LoRaWAN-linked sensors to monitor road temperatures to help manage road gritting and monitor road safety issues.

Norfolk also uses LoRaWAN to monitor desk utilisation in county hall and will be deploying sensors on the Norfolk Broads to provide boat users with information on which bridges their boats can pass under and direct them to empty moorings to dock. In the future such sensors could also be used to monitor moisture in the air and advise farmers when to spray crops etc.

Finally, we should mention that this isn’t the first LFFN contract to be scooped by Capita. Both they and Cityfibre picked up a £9.5m contract last year to help connect 152 public sector sites across the highlands of Scotland (here).

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar mike

    So almost £18k per location. BT offer FTTPoD in almost all of Norfolk now, which would probably be cheaper (although not yet gigabit-capable), and it also seems pointless including Norwich in this since it’s now on BT’s list to cover with FTTP in the next couple of years.

    • Avatar John Uncle

      Government policy is rarely about common sense. Let alone local council policy. It’s ironic that they saw fit to fund Fibre upgrades for themselves and yet the rest of the county lags behind the rest of the country.

      There’s a clear disparity between Fibre installations in the West of the country versus the East. Why not fund people like CityFibre who seem to have done a fast FTTP rollout to Peterborough (just over the county border in Cambridgeshire).

      If we actually got our act together as a country, then we could have done this much better and faster. Frankly, why not just make one law in Parliament stating that ALL existing copper lines have to be upgraded to Fibre period. Then it’s no longer a case of “if it’s profitable” according to vested interests, or protecting lease line revenue. There would be a necessity to actually deliver. And companies can still make a profit by offering to upgrade said copper lines by applying on the tender to do so.

    • Avatar John Uncle

      *Meant to say “West of the COUNTY, versus the east.” Not country.

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