UK Gigabit Programme (Kent): request for information

Cindy F. Cape


The government’s ambition is to deliver nationwide gigabit-capable broadband as soon as possible. We recognise that there is a need for government intervention in the parts of the country that are not commercially viable, this is why the government has committed £5bn for the hardest to reach parts of the country, ensuring that all areas of the UK can benefit. This will be spent through a package of coordinated and mutually supportive interventions, collectively known as Project Gigabit.

BDUK conducted an Open Market Review (OMR) from 12 August 2021 to 13 September 2021 to understand from suppliers if there were any current or planned investment over the next three years (and beyond, if available) in broadband infrastructure (Next Generation Access broadband, ultrafast and gigabit-capable) within the Kent lot.

The Public Review process aims to validate the outcome of the OMR and BDUK’s mapping to ensure that it correctly represents the information provided by suppliers in the course of the OMR and to ensure that the right areas are targeted for government investment.

We invite stakeholders (including the public, businesses, internet service providers and broadband infrastructure operators) to provide us with feedback about the proposed eligible area for government investment set out in this document.

Suppliers who missed contributing to the preceding OMR, had no definitive plans and / or evidence base on which to substantiate claims at that earlier stage, or have subsequently updated their plans now have a final opportunity to notify BDUK before the procurement stage. The premises identified by BDUK as eligible may be grouped into one or more appropriately sized Intervention Areas (IAs). The IAs will be issued to the market so that suppliers can bid for funding to support delivery to those areas.

The outcome of this PR and the preceding OMR is shown in terms of White, Grey, Black and Under Review premises. We will only subsidise build to premises which have been designated as White.

  • White – indicates premises with no gigabit network infrastructure and none is likely to be developed within 3 years. Annex C provides information on the technology ‘qualifying’ as gigabit-capable
  • Black – premises with two or more qualifying gigabit infrastructures from different suppliers being available, or will be deployed in the coming 3 years
  • Grey premises – a single qualifying gigabit infrastructure from a single supplier is available, or is to be deployed within the coming 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

Premises categorised as Under Review will be subject to continued monitoring and verification of supplier plans within the three-year period by BDUK. BDUK may request commitment from the supplier that significant progress is made within three years. In the event that these commercial plans fall away, these premises will be mapped as eligible and form part of the proposed intervention area and so eligible for intervention via this aid measure. We request that suppliers inform us regarding all plans, including plans beyond the initial three-year period.

BDUK classifies premises on the basis of their existing or planned broadband infrastructure, as set out in Annex B and Annex C. The OMR and PR data analysis of supplier’s broadband coverage claims is undertaken at UPRN (premises) level.

Once the PR has closed, if additional information or clarifications are required, BDUK will raise Clarification Questions with suppliers before deciding on a classification.

What are the step change requirements?

BDUK also requires that public intervention should be able to ensure a step change in broadband availability from that currently available as well as credible planned networks. This is demonstrated by:

  • generally, download speeds must be at least doubled and upload speeds substantially higher as a result of the intervention when compared with existing download and upload speeds

  • significant new investments in the broadband network are undertaken (ie investments that must include civil works and installation of new passive elements)

  • the new infrastructure brings significant new capabilities to the market in terms of broadband service availability, capacity, speeds and / or competition

The step change in broadband availability shall be compared to that of existing as well as credible planned networks.

Outcome of the Open Market Review (OMR) Kent – Lot 29

BDUK initiated an OMR for Kent (Lot 29) from 12 August 2021 to 13 September 2021 .

The OMR indicated that planned commercial coverage for gigabit-capable broadband would reach approximately 455,985 premises, and would therefore leave the remaining 385,756 premises without access to gigabit-capable broadband.

The outcome of the OMR is shown within the map (Annex D) and associated postcode list published alongside this document and shows the subsidy classifications determined for each postcode within the Kent lot. Supplier data submitted during the OMR has been incorporated into the OMR outputs using a methodology that protects commercially sensitive supplier data.

For presentational purposes only, postcodes have been used when mapping the proposed eligible areas for this Public Review. (NB we will only subsidise build to premises which have been designated as White – postcodes are not used to determine intervention areas for subsidy).

For the purpose of mapping only, postcodes have been classified as follows:

  • A postcode is White if any ‘White’ premises are present
  • A postcode is Under Review if any ‘Under Review’ premises are present
  • A postcode is Black if all premises in the postcode are classified ‘Black’
  • A postcode is Grey if all premises are ‘Grey’ or there is a mixture of ‘Grey’ and ‘Black’ premises

The outcome of the OMR is summarised in terms of ‘White’, ‘Grey’, ‘Black’ and ‘Under Review’ postcodes and premises below.

Postcode Classification Number of Postcodes Number of Gigabit Black Premises Number of Gigabit Grey Premises Number of Gigabit Under Review Premises Number of Gigabit White Premises
White 19,374 2,124 80,024 28,601 190,199
Under Review 13,251 3,706 63,175 166,956
Grey 14,939 16,540 266,213
Black 1,396 24,203
Total 48,960 46,573 409,412 195,557 190,199

It is possible to provide Suppliers (upon request and subject to the relevant data sharing agreements being in place) a UPRN list, showing the Premises which have been designated as ‘White’ & ‘Under Review’ following the OMR. Please contact [email protected] to request this information.

Purpose of this Public Review request for information

This Public Review defines the proposed eligible areas, as determined during the OMR, to enable all interested stakeholders (including the public, businesses, internet service providers and broadband infrastructure operators) to comment on those proposals.

The outcome of the OMR is shown within the map (Annex D) and associated postcode list published alongside this document.

As part of this Public Review, we will request and then evaluate any further responses in order to validate the eligibility of the premises for government subsidy. During the evaluation exercise, we may engage with suppliers further to discuss and confirm their coverage claims.

Following this, we will be able to determine the premises to be included in procurements.

The steps below shows a summary of how the PR process works:

  1. BDUK issues Public Review.

  2. Stakeholders review proposed eligible areas for intervention. BDUK response to clarification questions (as required).

  3. Stakeholders submit feedback on the Public Review.

  4. BDUK reviews and evaluates the feedback. BDUK investigates and discusses feedback with respondent (as required).

  5. BDUK finalises premises classification and published outcome of Public Review.

  6. Public Review process concludes.

Suppliers wishing to provide coverage data should contact BDUK and will follow a process similar to the one run for the Open Market Review

This Public Review will take place over the period of at least one month, and once concluded will confirm the eligibility of premises for procurements. The full details of these procurements will follow the conclusion of this OMR and Public Review.

The steps below show the order of processes, from OMR to procurement:

  1. OMR.

  2. Public Review.

  3. Determine intervention areas for procurement.

  4. Procurement

All meaningful responses to the Public Review will be carefully considered and where necessary, utilised to determine eligible premises. The final eligible area maps and a summary report confirming details of the changes will be published on the website after the close of the review period. The finalised eligible premises and proposed Intervention Areas will then be submitted to BDUK’s National Competence Centre (NCC) for approval against the UK Subsidy Control Regime. The responses and output from the Public Review will therefore help us gain further confidence that the proposed interventions are in areas that are eligible for subsidy, ie, areas which are not commercially viable and require government intervention to address market failure.

Changes to Lot Area

Please note, Lot areas are not fully aligned to local authority (LA) boundaries, and in some cases a small number of premises from neighbouring local authorities may be included in the scope of a specific Lot. Suppliers should also note that the specific Lot boundaries (and intervention areas) may flex during the OMR, Public Review and Pre-Procurement Market Engagement processes to enable an optimum procurement to be put to the market. Where this occurs then BDUK will ensure that it is communicated in a transparent manner in order to remain consistent with the principles of the Gigabit Infrastructure Scheme. Therefore if you have existing network coverage, or plan to build infrastructure in neighbouring LA areas, then please provide details in your response to this Public Review OMR.

Since the OMR closed on 13th September 2021 the following changes have been made to the proposed Lot Boundary Area. Please note, the OMR outcomes provided above, and shown in Annex D, include these changes and so are consistent with the proposed Lot Boundary Area that is now going to Public Review.

The following Exchanges below have been added to the Kent (Lot 29) Boundary Area as it was shown in the map at the start of OMR launch

Exchange moved from Lot 37 (London) to Lot 29 (Kent):

Exchanges moved from Lot 16 (East Sussex) to Lot 29 (Kent):

  • NDWIT (Wittersham)
  • NDSAH (Sandhurst)
  • NDHAK (Hawkhurst)
  • NDLAM (Lamberhurst)
  • NDFOR (Fordcombe)

These changes have been made as it was determined the majority of these premises were located in Kent, and by reducing the instances of premises overlapping into neighbouring local body areas this would allow for more optimised delivery to Lot 29 to occur.

The role of local bodies

BDUK will work with the relevant local bodies to answer questions, evaluate supplier responses, assess data accuracy, manage the build phase and engage with the local community. Sharing the premises data set out within each location and intervention areas, during the OMR and Public Review stages, will help us gain further confidence that the proposed interventions are eligible for subsidy.

BDUK will maintain a central dataset and will work with authorities to assess and review the data in the areas relevant to the respective local body and intervention areas. BDUK will be responsible for the data and local bodies are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to gaining access to the data.

This Request for Information is being carried out independently of any activities that local bodies may be undertaking, for example, under the National Broadband Scheme 2016 known as the Superfast Programme.

Procurement and commercial approach

BDUK has undertaken extensive early market engagement in relation to procurement for interventions. This engagement has included consultation on the programme design, different potential target areas, technical specification (including wholesale access), procurement types and contractual terms. Feedback from broadband suppliers and other stakeholders has been taken into account in all of these areas.

Procurements will be carried out in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015). BDUK procurement approaches are designed to address the scale of the individual procurements. The procurements will be conducted in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner.

Forthcoming procurement – Kent

BDUK will budget an appropriate amount of public funding from the Project Gigabit Programme, based on the final number of premises requiring subsidy for this area, at the procurement stage.

The budget will be specified within the Invitation To Tender (ITT) documentation, following the Public Review. Details of any restrictions on the use of public subsidy will be explained in the tender documentation. It is BDUK’s intention to procure gigabit-capable solutions – capable of achieving a minimum of 1Gbps download speed – to the premises identified as in scope for subsidy.

Please note, the final list of premises in scope for subsidy will be issued with the ITT and is not finalised at this stage.

Final Project Gigabit Intervention Areas may be a subset of the premises classified as White in the subsidy assessment and will be subject to BDUK overlays, including other active/planned BDUK interventions (eg Superfast).

Once the review is closed and BDUK has finalised the Intervention Area, an ITT will be issued within approximately 6 months via a procurement portal, for suppliers to bid for the opportunity to deliver extended gigabit-capable broadband coverage.

Participating / Responding to this Public Review

BDUK’s goal is to ensure the parts of the country that need government investment are accurately targeted. Each contributor to this public review will help to optimise the use of public subsidy in helping to provide faster and better connectivity across all parts of the UK.

Please respond if you have information to contribute to this data validation process or can provide your views about the accuracy of data and mapped areas by reporting where premises have existing or planned gigabit-capable broadband coverage. If you are a supplier and did not respond to the recent OMR Request For Information – First Release of Phase 2 and have existing or planned network coverage, please submit your plans so that public subsidy can be targeted more accurately and over-building commercial infrastructure can be avoided. Where suppliers have credible plans that extend beyond the three year horizon then these should be included in your submission to BDUK. All planned builds should be supported with detailed evidence as set out in the Submission requirements.

Please note that the information you provide in your response will be treated as confidential, albeit that it may be necessary to share some / all of your response with our professional advisors and/or local bodies, Ofcom and BEIS Subsidy Control Branch. We will use this information to define the intervention areas (only) following the Public Review.

For information regarding what to expect when you contact BDUK within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (‘DCMS’) and provide us with your personal information, please read the DCMS privacy notice.

Responses from residents, businesses and other stakeholders

For residents and businesses, responses should relate to whether you have, or expect to have gigabit-capable broadband service coverage in the next three years (and beyond). Any information provided in response to this Public Review should as a minimum include (but need not be limited to) the UPRN, or the area (i.e postcode) that the submission relates to and the nature of the concern.

For all submissions, BDUK would be grateful if you could confirm the following:

  • your organisation’s name (if applicable)
  • your organisation’s, or residential address (if applicable)
  • your name
  • position
  • contact telephone number
  • email address

Members of the public and other respondents should follow the above format and email their submissions to [email protected]

Responses from suppliers

BDUK requests information and supporting evidence from suppliers in relation to the presence of broadband infrastructure within the project area. We wish to hear from all internet service providers and broadband infrastructure operators – particularly in relation to the proposed mapped eligible areas shown with the Annex D map and associated postcode list.

Please tell us about your:

  • Broadband infrastructure – existing

  • Plans for developing / improving broadband infrastructure

  • Interest in bidding for projects and capability to scale

For suppliers wishing to provide a coverage response to this Public Review please see the below sections, Making a data response and Submission requirements.

Specific feedback on the procurement approaches can be supplied to the supplier relationship team via [email protected] Where you may, for example, want to tell us separately about your capacity to make a bid.

Making a data response

Please provide information at premise (UPRN) level on, and supporting evidence for, any of your current or planned investment in broadband infrastructure in the Kent area using the templates issued.

To submit a data response, please follow the steps below, as well as referring to the guidance provided in Annex A:

  1. Sign the PSGA Standard Form Contractor Licence, which will be required before downloading the data. Please return this, as soon as possible to [email protected] If you have already signed a licence agreement with BDUK through previous OMRs/PRs, there is no need to send this through again.

  2. Once you have done this, we will provide you with login details to our secure file transfer portal where you will be able to download the response templates.

  3. You may seek clarification, on making a data response, at any time from Friday 4 February 2022 to Friday 4 March 2022. Please send these questions to us at [email protected]

  4. You should make your data submission to us via the secure file transfer portal. Please upload the data response template and any further supporting evidence you feel you should send.

  5. Please do not assume that we will use a previous submission for this RFI. If you wish for a previous submission to be treated as your return for this RFI, please get in touch to confirm this.

  6. Please include all current and planned premises coverage, including premises that are outside of the geographic areas, and/or outside of the premises base provided in the template files in Annex A.

  7. Please include any existing or planned infrastructure you have gained with assistance from government subsidy for example, Vouchers, Superfast (NBS 2012 or NBS 2016) and Hubs (Local Full Fibre Networks and Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programmes).

Please note that the data you provide in your response will be treated as commercially confidential, albeit that it may be necessary to share some/all of your response data with our professional advisors and/or local bodies, Ofcom and BEIS Subsidy Control Branch. We will use this information to define the intervention areas (only) following the Public Review.

Please ensure that you engage with us as soon as possible to confirm whether you would require BDUK to put in place a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) enabling us to share data between each other as part of this PR process. (If you have already signed a NDA in place with BDUK through previous OMRs /PRs, this is not required again)

It should also be noted that it is a requirement to use this information to produce maps to define ‘White’, ‘Grey’, ‘Black’ and ‘‘Under Review’ areas for gigabit-capable broadband. However, the published maps will show the aggregated ‘White’, ‘Grey’, ‘Black’ and ‘Under Review’ broadband areas, not the data provided on a per-operator basis. The final maps and UPRNs that will be used for procurement purposes will be published shortly after the conclusion of this Public Review and once approved by the National Competence Centre.

If you have any questions about any of the above, please contact [email protected]

Submission requirements

Responses to this PR RFI must include the following:

  1. A data submission that should cover your current and planned premise coverage (ie premises served by your network, or planned to be served by your network) as per the format outlined in Annex A:

    • The required data templates will be provided through the secure file transfer portal.

    • Please include all current and planned premises coverage, including premises that are outside of the geographic areas, and/or outside of the premises base provided in the template files.

    • Additional guidance can be provided to suppliers if required, please contact [email protected] for support.

  2. Your completed Supporting evidence template, which must include a response to the questions outlined in Annex B.

  3. BDUK would also like to hear from operators their views as to the types of wholesale access products they would like to see offered on any newly created subsidised network infrastructure. This information may inform the intervention design. Please note that we are not obliged to include these products in the invitation to tender.

Please note that where your coverage claims are for gigabit-capable networks, then your response detailing your proposed network design and architecture must consider the technical definition as outlined in Annex C.

Evidence to demonstrate how planned investments are viable

There are three essential areas against which BDUK will evaluate your planned coverage claims to ensure the overall viability of your planned investment.

Our assessment will be based on the suite of evidence you provide BDUK in the Supporting Evidence Template and will include: whether the technology you intend to deploy is gigabit capable and meets the technical criteria as outlined in Annex C: Technical definition; deliverability, and whether your deployment plans are in line with the phases / premises passed outlined in your business plan, with the key build stages and processes outlined; and commercial viability – whether you have viable commercial plans such as sufficient access to capital and whether the drawdown of your funds aligns with your deployment plan and build programme.

The information you provide should be consistent across these elements to support a joined-up evaluation of your responses.

Further information is included in Annex B and the Supporting Evidence Template.

Date for return

Please submit responses to this Public Review by the closing date of Friday 4 March 2022. BDUK plans to publish the final maps showing the finalised Intervention Area, following the close of the assessment and evaluation period.

This will be followed by the launch of the Invitation To Tender to suppliers, enabling them to bid for the opportunity to fulfil a new contract to deliver the extended coverage.

Thank you.

BDUK Case Management Team

Annex A: Data submission format


BDUK requires certain fields of data for each pertinent UK address as identified by the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) in order to monitor the current and future delivery of Gigabit broadband capable services. This is done by requesting data on current and future connections from relevant suppliers. The below describes the format of the BDUK request file and how to format the data to return to us. If you require any additional support, guidance or clarification with this, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

File formats

BDUK will supply blank templates for the PR (as outlined in Annex A), showing the UPRNs across the nation that we consider relevant to the PR process. For easier working, these have been divided into ten separate templates, covering: Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, North West, North East, Central East, Central West, South West, South East and finally a No Region file.[footnote 1]

These UPRNs have been sourced from Address Base Premium Epoch 89, from Ordnance Survey published December 2021. Even though we are, at this stage, specifically focussing on data for Kent, for the purposes of our broadband planning we would be grateful for your full broadband plans, including premises that are outside of these geographic areas, and / or outside of the premises base provided in the template files.

These template files may have been amended to include new UPRNs that were not on the original versions issued at the OMR stage. If that is the case then you can refer to the final column on the templates called ‘Additional_UPRN’ to check which UPRNs may require review if they were not part of your original OMR return. To note, some UPRNs may have also been removed.

Please do not pre-filter your data based on the template files, instead please provide us with your entire UPRN dataset.

If you are using the template files as the starting point for your return, please remove any UPRN rows which are not part of your current or planned network.

The information that we provide against each property / premises is as follows:

Field Name Description Format
strUPRN The UPRN (see below) prepended with “STR”, this is a mitigation against certain spreadsheet tools treating the UPRN as a large number and removing significant digits Text
UPRN The unique property reference number Number
Single_Line_Address Comma delimited single line address (eg 1, Acacia Avenue, Anytown) Text
Postcode Standard postcode Text
Local_Authority_District The local authority district Text
Longitude Longitude in the decimal degree format Number
Latitude Latitude in the decimal degree format Number

The information that we ask for against each property / premises is as follows:

Field Name Description Format
Current_Technology The technology you use for supplying that particular premises, examples of this could be ADSL, FTTP, FTTC etc Text
Current_Max_Download_ Speed The maximum download speed in Mbit/s that you are able to supply to this property. Number
Current_Max_Upload_Speed The maximum upload speed in Mbit/s that you are able to supply to this property. Number
Future_Technology The technology you intend to use for supplying that particular premises, examples of this could be FTTP, FTTC etc Text
Future_Max_Download_Speed The maximum download speed in Mbit/s that you intend to be able to supply to this property. Number
Future_Max_Upload_Speed The maximum upload speed in Mbit/s that you intend to be able to supply to this property. Number
Date_of_Future_Rollout This should be the Ready for Service date for the premises. The date at which RSPs can offer products or services to the individual premise. This should not be the date that build commences. DD/MM/YYYY
Delivery_Phase The planned phase for any future rollout which each UPRN shall form part of, e.g. Phase 1/Phase 2 etc, Tranche 1/Tranche 2 etc., Region 1/Region 2 etc.

These phases should align to your Calendar Deployment Plan and should correlate and be consistent with the information contained in your Supporting Evidence Template. Please include context regarding each delivery phase in your supporting evidence such as the risks and dependencies for the successful delivery of each phase and the mitigations/arrangements that you have in place to address these risks; a description regarding your resourcing plan for each phase; key milestones within each phase and the subsequent activities/timeframes to achieve RFS.

Design_Stage The current phase of your future coverage such as:

‘1. Awaiting HLD’ – High Level Design (HLD) has not yet been completed.

‘2. HLD complete’ – HLD/area level plan has been completed. However, Low Level Design (LLD) work has not yet been completed or is in progress.

‘3. LLD complete’ – Low Level Design (LLD) and survey work has been completed, however, subcontractors/build partners, or in-house resources to complete the network build, are still to be appointed.

‘4. Build team appointed’ – Subcontractors / build partners or if applicable in-house civil resource has been appointed and commissioned to start the network build in accordance with the LLDs. All the necessary planning, acquisitions and wayleave agreements are finalised to allow the network to be constructed.

‘5. In build’ – Network build is in progress, however premises are not yet able to take up a service.

‘6. RFS’ – Network build and end-to-end testing is complete and premises are Ready for Service (RFS) i.e. RSPs are able to offer products or services to the individual premise

Note: If you are intending to use different descriptions to those above, please include full explanations of each field entry in your supporting evidence submission to accompany this data submission.

Funding_Stage The current status of funding allocated to the UPRN. If your funding allocation is linked to your Delivery_Phase please reflect that in your data and explain that in your supporting evidence. Please be aware that BDUK’s assessment of supplier returns will be based, in full, on the evidence requested in Annex B. As such, we cannot guarantee that we will accept how suppliers have categorised the status of their funding position. Field entries to use:

‘1. No funding planned or committed’ – While you may be planning to deliver to this UPRN, the funding is not yet in place to do so and/or you are seeking funding.

‘2. Funding planned, but not committed’ – You have in principle funding agreed to deliver to this UPRN, but the funding is not immediately available, requires further decisions such as Board approval, or is dependent on (for example) performance metrics.

‘3. Funding committed’ – Funding has been identified and has been allocated to delivery of this UPRN. There are no further conditions around drawing down or using funding and the funding is ring-fenced solely for the delivery of associated premises. This should be explained clearly in your financial plan, which should be provided as part of your Supporting Evidence Template.

Public_Intervention Please define if coverage is based on public intervention. ‘Yes’ will be marked when a planned premises is dependent on funding from BDUK’s Vouchers, Superfast, LFFN or RGC Programmes. However, other public interventions (such as Local Authority schemes) should also be acknowledged and marked as a ‘Yes’ here. Further explanation should be provided in your Supporting Evidence Template.

An entry of ‘No’ would indicate that the premises is planned to be built entirely through commercial funding with no dependency on public intervention. Evidence of this funding should be provided in your supporting evidence.

Yes / No

Please note that an additional column has been provided to identify UPRNs that have been added to the template files since the OMR based on an updated filtering methodology.

These additional UPRNs are under consideration and therefore should be tested by the market for consideration for inclusion in the final dataset. Feedback obtained from the Public Review will be considered when determining their inclusion.

Field Name Description Format
Additional_UPRN Indication if the UPRN has been added due to an updated filtering methodology.

YES = a premises that would have been filtered out under previous (more restrictive) filtering rules. None of these premises were present in the OMR template files.

NO = a premises that would not be filtered out based on previous (more restrictive) filtering rules.


Additional columns

Aside from the standard columns above, you may wish to add additional columns to provide further additional information about your network. If this is the case, please add additional column(s) at the end of your data return and provide clear explanation in your supporting evidence of what these columns indicate.

Annex B: Supporting evidence

Please provide details and additional supporting evidence of any current or planned investment in broadband infrastructure (Next Generation Access broadband, ultrafast and gigabit-capable) in the identified geography using the Supporting Evidence Template.

Any information provided in response to this request should include but not be limited to:

  • An appropriate demonstration/explanation as to how your broadband infrastructure or suppliers’ service(s) meets with minimum standards where these claim to be Next Generation Access, ultrafast or gigabit.

  • For information only, capability definition is consistent with the definitions set out in Ofcom Connected Nations Reports, eg;
  • Within each broadband category (Next Generation Access, ultrafast or gigabit-capable) please indicate: (i) what level of take-up is expected in total; and (ii) what level of take-up can be sustained by the network design and dimensioning

    • For example, a fixed wireless supplier may only be expecting 10% take-up of premises covered by its superfast network, and only be able to support a total of 20% of all premises passed converting to customers without significant capacity upgrades to the network.
  • Please indicate the ‘normally available’ and ‘minimum’ speeds for the customers of each service eg
Service Download ‘normally available’ Download ‘minimum’ Upload ‘normally available’
100Mbps 100Mbps 40Mbps 20Mbps
330Mbps 300Mbps 120Mbps 60Mbps
1Gbps 980Mbps 330Mbps 200Mbps

Please refer to the full text of the Ofcom’s Voluntary Code of Practicefor Better Broadband Speeds (March 2019), however, these definitions can be summarised as follows (summary extract from Ofcom Voluntary Code of Practice):

Normally available’ speed is defined as the speed a customer could expect to receive during peak times – measured as 8-10pm for residential services and 12-2pm for business services and reflecting when customers are most likely to use the service.

Minimum speed’ is defined as the minimum guaranteed speed a customer should expect from the service, which would trigger the customers right to exit the contract if speeds fall below this minimum level and are unable to be resolved within a 30-day period.

  • Appropriate indicators of quality of the service eg, contention ratio and/or bandwidth allocation per end user, together with a technical explanation of how these will support the achievement of the normally available and minimum speeds for all users

  • A description of the technical architectures that demonstrate how the claimed data speeds and performance will be maintained end-to-end across the deployed infrastructure. This could include, for example, network connectivity diagrams, deployment / coverage maps, design / dimensioning rules for network elements, backhaul capacity information, types and quantities of equipment, technical specifications, network performance measurements etc

  • Description of all services / products offered over the infrastructure including any wholesale provision to any retail service providers currently offered and any planned extension to these services within the next 3 years. Please indicate which retail service providers are using these services and what services are being taken

  • Installation and rental tariffs for those services/products clearly identifying whether they are inclusive or exclusive of VAT

  • Confirmation from an authorised signatory that all information provided is of suitable accuracy

In order for BDUK to evaluate any planned investment and coverage claims provided as part of the PR process, please provide evidence within ‘Part D: Planned Investments’ of the Supporting Evidence Template.

You should as a minimum include an outline Business Plan, a detailed calendar deployment plan and evidence of adequate financing for each stage of the proposed build.

We would also like information about company structure (for example parent company), evidence of adequate capital (or your plans to raise capital), dependencies and assumptions associated with financing (for example revenue from an existing network or assumptions on GBVS voucher revenue) and other financial and commercial information to enable BDUK to understand the viability of your planned investment.

In assessing whether planned investments are viable, BDUK may:

  • review the business plans and calendar deployment plans to ensure these are consistent and in sufficient detail for each phase of the planned build

  • require evidence to demonstrate credible and plausible character of the planned investment which as a minimum should include a business plan, a detailed calendar deployment plan, proof of adequate financing and proposed technical architecture

  • ensure calendar deployment plans include the key build stages and when suppliers expect to undertake significant activities within their build programme such as design, surveying, acquisition, network build, network installation etc or the key processes involved in your build plan approach for design phase, survey phase, road notices/ wayleaves etc

  • test that funding availability is sufficient for each phase of the planned build and that the capital allocated for the specific OMR area is sufficient and is consistent with the deployment plan

  • review the terms of any financing arrangements and any dependencies and assumptions associated with the financing including assumptions and dependencies around public subsidy such as GBVS vouchers or regional subsidy schemes

  • ensure that the network design and dimensioning information provided is in line with the projections made in the Business Plan regarding customer connections and growth expectations

Please supplement the attached Supporting Evidence Template with other documentation as you consider appropriate (eg public websites, published reports, etc). If you require any additional support, guidance or clarification with any of this, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

Annex C: Technology definition

The UK will review the criteria for gigabit-capable networks within three months of the launch of infrastructure procurement, based upon the consultation with industry, and the UK regulator, around the criteria below. In the meantime BDUK will work with the following technical definition:

Infrastructure that can support gigabit-capable services directly or via third-party providers without restriction, as set out below:

(a) Connections that are gigabit-capable (capable of delivering 1000Mbps or more download speeds) at the time of delivery of the connection without the need for future hardware upgrades or modification[footnote 2] i.e. gigabit capability to be available from day one and if the consumer takes a slower speed it must be soft upgradeable without undue delay.

(b) At least one product with a download speed capability of at least 1Gbps and an upload speed of at least 200Mbps with busy hour performance as laid out below.

(c) Products with a clear and comprehensible explanation of the minimum, normally available[footnote 3] and maximum advertised download and upload speeds.[footnote 4]

(d) Low data latency in accordance with Ofcom regime or codes of practice, recent industry norms and Industry Standards for the requirements of real-time services (or otherwise, in the absence of prevailing standards 10 ms and below for 95% of the time).

(e) Support for real-time services (e.g. voice/video calling, telematics, telemedicine etc.) with performance indicators (eg jitter, packet loss etc.) in line with recent industry standards, or in the absence of industry standards: 2ms for jitter, and 0.1% for packet loss, 95% of the time.

(f) Actual data speeds and performance during the busiest hours of the day (not more than 4 out of every 24), that do not degrade below 33% of the headline download speed, and an upload speed equivalent to 20% of the minimum download speed* (note: for performance where lower values are better, such as latency, jitter and packet loss, then a factor of 100% above would apply instead).

(g) Actual data speeds and performance that do not degrade outside of the busiest hours below 95% of the higher of the download and upload speeds set out above.

(h) Actual data speeds and performance that do not degrade as take-up of services approaches 100% of the addressable market (including any part arising from switch-off of legacy networks), to be demonstrated by firm commercial and technical (including capacity upgrade) plans based upon forecasts of up to 7 years.

(i) Where service offerings and performance vary by locality e.g. as a result of subscribers’ distances from infrastructure, gigabit capability to be maintained for all potential customers.

(j) Order fulfilment and rectification within typical industry timescales, supported by demonstrably efficient service management processes.

(k) Maintenance of customer service levels and network availability in line with industry norms, ideally supported by Service Level Agreements.

(l) Service provision that does not unfairly discriminate against particular types of services, providers, subscribers or third parties (e.g. via traffic shaping or Quality of Service measures).

(m) For subsidised networks only; offering of wholesale access products on open and non-discriminatory terms in line with the principle of technological neutrality, to enable the interconnection to the subsidised network of any technology which other communications providers and/or retail providers may reasonably consider appropriate in accordance with the wholesale access requirements.

Annex D: Maps to show intervention area

The map below is an image of our current draft intervention map. The postcode level data has also been published alongside this document.

Please note, following closure of the PR, a new version of these maps and premises lists will be produced and published on based on the latest dataset issued with this PR (please see Annex A for details) and market feedback gathered during the PR process.

Annex E: Subsidy control

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union on the 31st January 2020, the award of public subsidy needs to take account of World Trade Organisation rules and any international commitments made in free trade agreements. BDUK considers that this proposed subsidy falls under the subsidy control principles in Section 3 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) agreed between the European Union and UK Government on the 24th December 2020. The TCA places an obligation on both the UK and EU to have an effective system of subsidy control with independent oversight.

BDUK will ensure that it meets these subsidy principles in awarding public subsidy for gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure (for example, by ensuring subsidy is designed to target failure in the market to achieve full UK coverage while minimising negative effects on competition). Public subsidy will be targeted to limit the risks of crowding out private investment, altering commercial investment incentives and ultimately distorting competition. Projects will continue to be procured under the Public Contracts Regulations (2020), to help meet our subsidy control requirements.

Suppliers have the opportunity during the OMR and Public Review stages, to share with BDUK any firm and credible investment plans that may mean that public subsidy will not be warranted.

Requesting a review of a subsidy award

Under UK subsidy control requirements, anyone can request for a review about the award of subsidy. Requests must be submitted no later than one month from the date of the award of the subsidy for Kent. The award of subsidy will follow the procurement and contract award and BDUK’s National Competency Centre will consider requests submitted within the one month timescale, under the terms of the TCA.

This proposed award will be published by the Department of Business Energy Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The process for making such a request will be published here too.

More information about the UK’s Subsidy Control regime.

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