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BDUK Publish New Phase 2 Gigabit Broadband Coverage Reviews

Saturday, February 5th, 2022 (8:26 am) - Score 4,104
Project-Gigabit-UK-Broadband-Investment

The Broadband Delivery UK team have just published a new batch of Public Reviews (PR) and Open Market Reviews (OMR) for additional parts of England – mostly covered by Phase 2 of the Government’s £5bn Project Gigabit broadband rollout. Both aim to identify which areas need state aid support for future builds.

Just to recap. The project seeks to ensure that a minimum of 85%+ of UK premises can access a gigabit-capable (1Gbps) broadband connection by the end of 2025, before possibly reaching “nationwide” coverage by the end of 2030 (here and here).

NOTE: Commercial builds alone – mostly in urban areas – have already pushed gigabit coverage to c.65% of UK premises, and they’ll reach 80%+ by the end of 2025 – without public investment.

Project Gigabit itself will be targeted at upgrading those in the final 20% of the UK (5-6 million premises), where commercial investment models tend to fail (i.e. the hardest to reach rural and some sub-urban areas). But so far only £1.2bn of the proposed funding has actually been released for this, and the Government says that more will follow if the industry shows it can deliver (i.e. depending on the response to their procurements).

In England the new programme is much more centrally managed than the original Superfast Broadband (SFBB) scheme and that explains why these consultations are all being run by Building Digital UK (BDUK), rather than individual local authorities.

In any case, the first step – before procurements can begin and contracts be awarded to suppliers – is to identify precisely which areas are not expected to benefit from gigabit speeds under existing commercial builds, which covers related plans for the next 3 years. Only once you have the answer to that, can you identify where public funding will be needed to help address market failure.

The latest OMRs and PRs cover several regions across England, which reflect a third batch of Phase 2 areas under the Project Gigabit programme (plus Worcestershire from Phase 1B). Most of the details for these areas, including those from earlier phases, have already been revealed (example), but the final reviews should confirm the exact intervention areas. We’ve summarised all of the latest additions below.

NOTE: The Public Review process aims to validate the outcome of the OMRs and BDUK’s mapping, hence PRs are the final review stage before procurement. In addition, the PRs below enable us to see the outcome of earlier OMRs (i.e. how many premises will need support).

Premises Key

White – indicates premises with no gigabit network infrastructure and none is likely to be developed within 3 years.

Under Review – premises where suppliers have reported planned commercial broadband coverage, but where those plans have been judged through the OMR as potentially being at risk of not being completed

Phase 2 – Third Batch of OMRs

Worcestershire (Lot 24) Public Review

Indicative contract value: £50m – £84m
White Premises: 96,332
Under Review Premises: 86,344

Oxfordshire and West Berkshire (Lot 13) Public Review

Indicative contract value: £67m – £114m
White Premises: 83,937
Under Review Premises: 89,521

Kent (Lot 29) Public Review

Indicative contract value: £119m – £203m
White Premises: 190,199
Under Review Premises: 195,557

Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and East of Berkshire (Lot 26) Public Review

Indicative contract value: £140m – £237m
White Premises: 174,898
Under Review Premises: 152,443

Staffordshire (Lot 19) Public Review

Indicative contract value: £72m – £123m
White Premises: 123,863
Under Review Premises: 97,080

West Sussex (Lot 1) Public Review

Indicative contract value: £66m – £112m
White Premises: 41,666
Under Review Premises: 205,985

West Yorkshire and parts of North Yorkshire (Lot 8) OMR

Indicative contract value: £128m – £218m

Nottinghamshire and West of Lincolnshire (Lot 10) OMR

Indicative contract value: £90m – £152m

Leicestershire and Warwickshire (Lot 11) OMR

Indicative contract value: £114m – £194m

South Yorkshire (Lot 20) OMR

Indicative contract value: £61m – £103m

Most of the above areas are currently expected to enter the procurement phase in mid to late 2022, with contract commencement then being expected to follow from later in 2023. The closing date for responses (from the public, businesses, ISPs and broadband infrastructure operators) to all of these PRs and OMRs is 4th March 2022.

In addition, any suppliers (network builders) that failed or were not yet ready with their plans to respond to the earlier OMR phase can still respond via the final PR phase in order to be included. This is important because the current market is rapidly evolving, with new networks and deployment plans seeming to crop up quite frequently.

We should point out that BDUK recently soft launched a new Rolling National Open Market Review process, which should in the future make it easier for them to keep track of new developments in commercial builds of gigabit broadband networks. But in the meantime, they still have to run through the existing OMR and PR process.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
11 Responses
  1. Peter S says:

    Having temporarily suspended new registrations for their Fibre Community Partnership program, it will be interesting to see how many of the phase 1 and 2 gigabit procurement lots Openreach choose to bid for.

    1. Fastman says:

      openreach has to work out who has been registering and where – and whether those scheme could ever progress based on the currrently roll out now scheduled to 2026

  2. Happychap says:

    Great news, looks like Bewdley (Worcs.) is in a White area, and therefore should receive a subsidy to build the infrastructure, as part of the 96,332 properties to be covered in Worcestershire.

    1. MrTruth says:

      Don’t get too excited.

      “White Premises” just means there is no gigabit providers for those premises and “Under Review Premises” just means they are to expensive to do commercially, there is still a cost cap for BDUK rollouts and if those premises both “White Premises” and “Under Review Premises” exceed the BDUK cost cap then they won’t get done by government funding either.

    2. Happychap says:

      Well, my street /postcode is covered by the white area, I think I shall remain excited thanks!

      I mean, I have my doubts too. I think I’ll likely be waiting until 2024 or the work to be completed.

    3. MrTruth says:

      @Happychap

      Stay excited if you must but don’t hold your breath as it could be fatal!!

  3. acc47578 says:

    Cheers for the article Mark 🙂

  4. GG says:

    Interesting. We’re on a cul-de-sac. We tried for one of the voucher projects back in 2018/2019, but it failed because not all on the road would underwrite us getting enough vouchers (madness, given how many even then were working or running businnesses from home).
    Aparently somebody saw the lady from OR on our street a few weeks ago.
    Our postcode is white – I’ve got Virgin but only about 1/3 of the street (9/28) can get it (we’re a hotchpotch of houses, most built in the (previously large) gardens of the houses laid out in the 1930s.
    Was half hoping we’d be a bit later. I can get asymmetric gigabit now from Virgin – i’d quite like an altnet that’s offering multi-gig connections, and especially a symmetric connection. We’ve got Hey! BRoadband in the next town, so there’s still hope.

    1. Optimist says:

      This suits the government, as those frustrated by poor broadband move house and pay stamp duty to the Treasuery.

  5. Alanmah says:

    I guess 1000mbps/1000mbps should be available soon

  6. Matt says:

    At this point not even exsited over full fiber thay have taken far to long to roll this out long time comeing across the road can get bt full fiber but I’m like what ever now as it takeing to long just to move over the street

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