A resolution has now been reached between DCMS and the EU. This will enable the county council to spend its full £30m of public funding, as well as the monies clawed back from the first contract a total of £33.9m.
This is, however, subject to the county council running a one month public consultation with the market, to further ascertain and demonstrate that no commercial plans exist to intervene in the additional areas the council plans to target with the reinvestment.
This consultation will run over Easter, and will conclude on 8th April. After April, the county council can complete the contracting process with BT and BDUK to embed the fully financed rollout plan into the contract, and commence community briefings in the early summer. The county council fully recognises the frustration out in communities regarding the delay, as well as the need for information to be shared as quickly and efficiently as possible.
This resolution is a big step forwards, and does not involve actively conducting a full review of coverage with the market, but only consulting on the county council’s plans for reinvestment.
In addition to this, DCMS are launching a flyer scheme to premises which they feel could benefit from the interim satellite broadband scheme; these will be distributed during the last two weeks of March. This will be a government-led promotion and the Suffolk version of the flyer is attached above:
Work on the broadband rollout continues as the county council progresses Phase 1 of the Superfast Extension Programme (the 2nd contract). The first phase of rollout will be shared onto a map on the SCC website, and the second phase will be added within the next couple of months.
To date, the county council has enabled 35 cabinets, and reached over 3,000 premises under the Superfast Extension Programme, towards a target of over 1,000 cabinets, and over 50,000 premises by the end of 2019.