The Regional Strategy Plan has been updated …

The original  5 stage plan included:

“Stage 1 – The provision of superfast broadband connectivity by commercial providers; primarily British Telecom (BT) and Virgin Media. At the time of writing the understanding was that commercial deployment had reached its limits and that no further commercial investment was likely to take place without the stimulus of public subsidy.

“Stage 2 – Essentially the continuing £35m contract between Fastershire and BT to achieve close to 90% coverage of both counties.

“Stage 3 – The potential to extend the BT contract where it made economic sense to do so, based on enabling cabinets not previously planned to be upgraded.

“Stage 4 – This stage focused on the residual areas remaining following the completion of stages 1, 2 and 3. These would be based on areas where there appeared at the time of writing to be a consolidated mass of premises which were not planned to benefit from fibre build but that might make an alternative solution viable. Based on the intelligence at that point, 3 such areas were identified; the Cotswolds, the Golden Valley and western Herefordshire. The exact geographical extent of these areas would be confirmed once BT had completed delivery in those areas.

“Stage 5 – Providing bespoke grants to individuals and communities through a range of funding sources including European Structural funds.

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“The vision for the Fastershire Broadband Strategy 2014-18 has been amended to: “By the end of 2018 everyone in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will be able to access the broadband services they need”.

“This updated version of the strategy aligns to three core principles:

1. “That the Fastershire definition of superfast broadband remains at the EU 2020 standard of 30Mbps

2. “[….] Fastershire will invest in solutions which deliver the greatest possible broadband speeds and services with the resources at its disposal. To demonstrate this, Fastershire will strive to achieve a Minimum Service Ambition of 10Mbps1 across the intervention area by the end of 2018.

3. “Wherever possible… the deployment of fixed broadband infrastructure will be designed in ways which make the provision of mobile and wireless connectivity to not spot areas more viable.

The 4 Stage Plan

“…… there is no need for a wholesale revision of the strategy and therefore (with the exception of Stage 3) the main stages of that plan remain largely unchanged.

“Stage 1 Commercial Delivery: It has become apparent that despite engagement with commercial operators ….many areas originally identified as covered by private sector suppliers have not been delivered as stated.

(This Stage is mainly about removing barriers for commercial expansion mainly in urban areas of Gloucester and Cheltenham)

“Stage 2 Existing Contract with BT: Continue the partnership with BT and support them to deliver their contractual targets in as efficient a manner as possible.

“Retain the option to incorporate non-enabled cabinets into the contract by exception where it is economic to do so subject to BT’s agreement and dependent on a new State Aid Derogation negotiated by BDUK.

(This Stage is about getting BT to finish its commitment, but there is a move towards FTTP (Fibre to the Premises), rather than FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) where it is commercially advantageous. That means the more densly populated areas. The proposed map doesn’t look hopeful for Draycott)

“Stage 3 Market Testing: It is now proposed that 5 Lot areas rather than the original 3 should be instigated.

“Lot 1 was created by identifying the premises within Milestone Area 5  which had not been enabled by Stage 2 and which had not been identified by private providers as targets for commercial investment.

“(Andoversford, Bibury, Bourton on the Water, Cirencester, Coln-St.Aldwyn, Cricklade, Fairford, Guiting Power, Kemble, Kempsford, Lechlade, Miserden, North Cerney, Northleach, Poulton, Southrop, South Cerney and Stow on the Wold)

“Lot 2: It is intended to focus this funding on Milestone Area 2 because, as with Lot 1, the Stage 2 contract has completed its planned delivery in that area and therefore we are able to identify exactly which premises remain unable to receive a superfast service. Milestone Area 2 covers the bulk of the Forest of Dean

“Lot 3 will tackle the residual areas of Gloucestershire as well as those in central and south Herefordshire (which are located in Milestone Areas 1 and 11).

“As with previous lots, a solution will be selected primarily on a £ per premise best value basis. The total funding available is estimated at £11.75m and it is envisaged that for such a budget c. 65% of the eligible premises could be reached with Superfast services4 . In order for suppliers to identify hot spots of demand, figures showing where the greatest number of premises in the eligible area that have registered an interest on Fastershire.com will be provided within the procurement documentation.

“Lot 4: will follow the principles of Lot 3 but will be delivered in the residual areas of Herefordshire.

“Lot 5: will be the final attempt at procuring a single supplier to deliver extensive coverage on behalf of the remaining communities. It will target EAFRD funding and as a result will be the first attempt to move away from a purely premise passed based measure of value. EAFRD aims to improve the economic prospects of rural areas and therefore, a demand registration exercise will be launched to rank the remaining localities in order of the latent economic potential which could be released through the provision of superfast broadband.

“Under this lot, residential premises will also be connected but as a consequence of reaching premises which can drive the economy rather than as the primary focus of the investment.

“The full extent of the areas that would be eligible for Lot 5 will not be clear in Gloucestershire until the conclusion of the Lot 3 procurement in the autumn of 2016. Therefore, this demand registration exercise will not begin until the summers of 2016.

(“The final stage of the strategy, Stage 4 will target grant funding at individual beneficiaries where a return on investment can be measured in terms of either economic or social benefit. But funds are very limited)

Draycott’s best chance appears to be under Stage 3. Lot 3 

but we need to have a strong register of interest with

Register here with Fastershire.

NOTE: All quotes have been taken from the

Fastershire Broadband Strategy Revision 2015-2018

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