Document Purpose: Sets out the Local Broadband Strategy for the Connecting Shropshire Programme. The content is only current at the time of issue.

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1 Document Purpose: Sets out the Local Broadband Strategy for the Connecting Shropshire Programme. The content is only current at the time of issue. Version History Version Issue Date Brief Summary of Change Author 1 July 2013 Issued C. Taylor 2 November Amendment C. Taylor August Amended to reflect Phase 2 procurement C. Taylor September Signed off Portfolio Holder and CS C. Taylor 2014 Programme Executive (SC/AE) 5 June 2015 Amendment Post Phase 2 Procurement C. Taylor \\sw08fs03\scc\joint_projects\connecting_shropshire_programme\programme documentation\strategy\broadband

2 Shropshire Local Broadband Plan Introduction Broadband needs to be available, reliable, and fast to support our communities aspirations for digital connectivity. All communities and businesses expect a reliable and open access network that provides competition and choice. There is a need to provide superfast broadband (24Megabits per second) to all premises in Shropshire in order to avoid a digital imbalance. Improving infrastructure for fast broadband connections is a key strategic and priority programme for Shropshire Council. It remains a key enabler of service transformation, supports our local and LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) business economy and is no longer deemed a luxury, but a necessity that all communities expect to have access to: We will design the infrastructure for the future needs of Shropshire Council and other commissioners looking to work in radically different ways. This will enable swift take up of the best systems and most efficient and well designed business processes extract Shropshire Business Plan and Financial Strategy Digital connectivity is critical to our businesses and communities. Whilst the most urban parts of the Marches are well served by broadband provision, poor connectivity remains a key barrier to investment in some of the rural areas of the Marches where many SME s operate extract Marches LEP Strategic Economic Plan. Given our rurality, the latest technological changes are extremely important to how we will communicate and trade both at home and abroad in the future, so we need to ensure that mobile phone and broadband provision across Shropshire supports our aspirations for growth and the way we choose to live and work extract Shropshire Economic Growth Strategy. Poor quality broadband infrastructure especially in more sparsely populated rural areas. We need fast efficient broadband services across the whole of the Marches, enabling 100%of our businesses to operate and communicate within a competitive, international market place extract Marches LEP Our Strategy for Growth It is acknowledged that the infrastructure market under normal conditions is unlikely to deliver basic or superfast broadband to 100% of Shropshire premises because it is commercially unattractive for service providers to invest. \\sw08fs03\scc\joint_projects\connecting_shropshire_programme\programme documentation\strategy\broadband

3 In 2012 the Government committed central funding to provide superfast broadband to the gap areas not covered by commercial provision. Local Authorities were asked to match fund grants accordingly. Shropshire Council, using the brand of Connecting Shropshire (CS) has invested and is currently working in partnership with BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) and its chosen supplier BT plc to improve broadband infrastructure. The priorities of these contracts are: Delivering the universal service commitment of 2Megabits per second (known as basic broadband) to every premises in the CS programme area (non-commercial areas) Provide fibre based broadband 2 to as many premises as possible and meet the Government national commitments of 90% superfast broadband coverage locally, 95% of whole UK by The projection for coverage in phases (1 & 2), which are contracted with BT plc as part pf the BDUK procurement framework, combined with existing commercial plans reviewed in Autumn 2014, estimate that 92% of premises (133k) in the Shropshire Council area (144k) will have access to superfast broadband speeds (24mbps or above) by the end of the programme. To date Shropshire Council has, through diligent work, secured funding towards broadband infrastructure in Shropshire of: Phase 1-26m Phase 2-17m (a balance of 11.7m is in hand for a further procurement) 2 fibre based broadband is defined as a broadband internet connection which uses fibre optic cables somewhere between the premise and the exchange. There are two main types fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP). \\sw08fs03\scc\joint_projects\connecting_shropshire_programme\programme documentation\strategy\broadband

4 Vision Our Vision is that 100% of Shropshire s businesses and households within the defined programme area will have access to a broadband service of at least 2mbps, with 92% being able to access superfast broadband by the end of Phase 2. This projection relies upon providers meeting their commercial projections up to Providers who responded to information requested in autumn 2014 included: Virgin Media Group Secure Web Services SiFi Networks BT plc Beyond Phase 2, Shropshire Council s aspiration is to give all businesses and households access to fibre based broadband with as many as possible having access to superfast broadband of at least 24 megabits per second. Aims of the Connecting Shropshire Programme We will: Enable 100% of premises in the defined CS programme area, with access to basic broadband at a minimum speed of 2 megabits per second by the end of the CS programme or as defined by BDUK; Provide as many premises as possible with access to superfast broadband of 24 megabits per second by the end of the programme; Continue to look for funding to support our ambitions; Support Shropshire businesses and residents in using and embracing and optimising the use of broadband as part of everyday life; Deliver a structured demand stimulation programme, which will demonstrate the economic and social benefits that faster broadband brings. This will result in measurable increases in take-up by individuals and businesses and will ensure higher overall take-up rates than the national average. We will know that we have done this by: Enabling 100% of premises in the CS programme area with access to basic broadband at a minimum of 2 megabits per second by the end of the programme. Providing 100% of premises with access to a fibre broadband solution, with as many as possible getting access to superfast broadband. This projection remains dependant on the commercial providers meeting their original projections as part of the pre procurement Open Market Review (OMR) process undertaken in Autumn Supporting Shropshire businesses and residents in using and embracing fibre based broadband as part of everyday life. Creating an open infrastructure to encourage competition in the market. Delivering a structured demand stimulation programme which will demonstrate the economic and social benefits that faster broadband brings. This will result in measurable increases in take-up by individuals and

5 businesses and will ensure higher overall take-up rates than the national average Economy Shropshire is a county of extremes. There are a few large companies in sectors as diverse as electronics and food & drink. Predominately, however, there are a large number of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and a higher than average proportion of self-employed people living and working in rural areas. The number of self-employed people is expected to continue to increase in the coming years. The majority of businesses operating in Shropshire are classified as SMEs, with most of these having fewer than 10 employees. Out of 14,420 businesses registered for either VAT or PAYE (source: ONS, IDBR, March 2014), only 25 employ more than 250 people. Consequently, small businesses make a vital contribution to the local economy. Although employment tends to be concentrated in the towns, there are a number of business parks and industrial estates in more rural locations. In recent years, self-employment has been considered as an increasingly viable employment option for many people, including those whose ambition has been to start their own business and also those forced to consider this option due to redundancy or economic contraction. Overall across the area, 13.6% of those in employment are self-employed (Annual Population Survey, year ending December ). This compares with 8.5% in the West Midlands and 10.0% in Great Britain. Above average rates of self-employment to some extent reflects the high number of home-based and micro businesses in the county. Although the exact number of home-based businesses is difficult to assess, according to the 2011 census, of the 23,567 Shropshire residents working mainly at or from home, 14,357 were self-employed. Research undertaken in 2009 also suggested that there are in excess of 9,000 home businesses in Shropshire. Many of these home workers live in rural areas that currently have no broadband coverage or endure very slow broadband speeds. Community Shropshire is the largest inland county in England and has a particularly challenging geography and existing telecommunications network topology. Owing to the rural displacement of premises many communities have a reliance upon mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure, which in many cases has been historically poor until the government s intervention in According to analysis of Index of Multiple Deprivation data (2010), 34% of the population in Shropshire live within the 20% most deprived areas of England in terms of barriers to housing and services, with closer to half of the population (44%) living within the 20% most deprived areas of the country when considering the geographical barriers sub-domain. The latter includes the following indicators:

6 Road distance to a GP surgery Road distance to a general store or supermarket Road distance to a primary school Road distance to a post office or sub post office Access to fast broadband services can alleviate some of the issues associated with the physical distance between residents and services. What are we doing? Shropshire Council has signed contracts with BT plc to deliver its Phase 1 ( 26) and Phase 2 (5.6m) broadband infrastructure upgrades in the Shropshire Council area. These contracts will: o Provide 100% of Shropshire residents and businesses in the defined programme area with access to a minimum of 2 megabits per second; o Deliver fibre based broadband to Shropshire residents and businesses in the defined programme area, with 92% of premises projected to have access to superfast broadband by the end of Phase 2; o Provide an open infrastructure which means that there will be a wide choice of internet service providers to buy broadband from; All qualifying SME s within Shropshire Council area post codes can now apply for a voucher of up to 3,000 towards a superfast broadband solution Superfast Britain Connected Vouchers Scheme. Following the conclusion of contracting for Phase 2 a balance of 6.68m ( 11.38m BUDK grant - 4.7m used in Phase 2) is available, together with the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership's Local Growth Fund allocation of 5.02m. The funding will be used to undertake a further procurement for the remaining premises that are currently not projected to get superfast broadband from either the commercial provision or from Phase 1 and 2 (11k). At the same time we will continue to explore options with our partners BT plc as part of the process, but not under exclusivity and with no obligations on the Authority. The unallocated funds provide Shropshire Council with a clear opportunity to reassess the wider market as outlined in the December 2014 Cabinet paper. It is anticipated that the process of soft market testing will encourage Procurement competition and the use of new technologies which will be essential to providing greater reach to those most impacted by the lack of fibre broadband coverage. It is important to again refer to the State Aid constraints and the need to meet the obligations outlined above. It is expected that a new umbrella State Aid agreement will be negotiated with the European Commission later this summer, which will include similar constraints. This agreement will again be very clear how authorities can spend public money on broadband infrastructure.

7 How will we get the Infrastructure upgraded? The Council will manage BT plc to deliver to its contract commitments. We will ensure that BT plc: Meets all challenges to deliver on costs and timescales; Provides evidence of value for money in deploying superfast broadband to as many premises as possible; Provides as much information as possible that can be shared with the public to set reasonable expectations for broadband coverage. The process that was undertaken as part of both Phase 1 and 2 procurements consisted of: Reviewing all commercial and BDUK framework opportunities to meet our aspirations for fibre based broadband for all premises in Shropshire; Assessing the risks and opportunities of the various procurement models; Utilising an efficient procurement framework that offered streamlined processes; Meeting State Aid principles; Appointing a supplier that provides the best deal for Shropshire in the most expedient timescales. How will we maximise the benefits for Shropshire? Shropshire Council will work with BT plc, BDUK and other commercial providers in Shropshire to: Work with all commercial providers and support them to meet their obligations as defined in their Open Market Review responses. o It should be noted that a further 13k premises are currently defined as commercially conditional and are not included in the projected gap areas. The commercial providers will be monitored accordingly on their delivery plans for these post code areas that are projected to get delivery of superfast broadband by Encourage commercial providers to build networks in Shropshire without the need to invest public monies. Promote the benefits of superfast broadband to business and communities; Support community aspirations to finance additional broadband coverage where there are currently no plans to build network coverage. Work with stakeholders of the CS programme to promote the use of broadband in business: o Maximise the efficiencies gained through the use of broadband o Maximise the links that can be made locally through business collaboration and supply chains using broadband including the development of links between home and lone workers

8 o Maximise the development of new markets and customer bases through the use of broadband o Encourage Investment opportunities to fill additional gaps; o Encourage the start-up of businesses that are part of the new digital economy o Encourage all new business start-ups to think about the advantages of e-commerce from the outset Look towards alternative funding, such as European Stuctural and Investment Fund (ESIF) to support infrastructure build in gap areas. Develop aligned projects that will demonstrate and encourage communities to take up the benefits of fibre broadband. Take-up of fibre broadband of over 20% in Phase 1 and 2 areas will release further revenue from BT plc, through the contract mechanism. This can be used to invest in further infrastructure delivery. Work with Community networks, charities and social enterprises to maximise the benefits of broadband connectivity for residents to challenge the issues of digital exclusion by: o Working with residents to overcome issues and concerns over the internet o Ensure that there is strong competition between providers so that prices remain competitive in the County. Timetable Revise Broadband Plan - June 2015 Engage Assess ALTNET market (alternative providers of Next Generation Networks) and review OJEU procurements undertaken nationally by other Local Bodies Engage with commercial market to assess opportunities to address not spot areas Undertake fresh Open Market Review September 2015 Preparatory work for procurement process, Autumn 2015 State Aid consultation, Winter 2015 Procurement, Winter 2015 Award contract, Spring 2016 Contact details: Web: Phone:

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