Digital Inclusion Programme Started. BL2a

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1 PROJECT BRIEF Project Name Digital Inclusion Programme Status: Started Release Reference Number: BL2a Purpose This document provides a firm foundation for a project and defines all major aspects of the project. For smaller projects that have been approved, it will form the basis for the management of the project and the assessment of overall success. For medium and larger projects it will be developed and refined into the Project Initiation Document, which will then perform this function. Contents This Project Brief contains the following topics: 1 Project Background 2 Project Objectives 3 Deliverables 4 Project Approach 5 Interfaces 6 Exclusions and Constraints 7 Assumptions 8 Outline Business Case 9 Risks 10 Document History

2 1. Project Background BL2a Digital Inclusion Programme Wiltshire Council is investing in digital inclusion and access to super-fast broadband to support homes and business throughout the county. Currently not all parts of Wiltshire have the same access to broadband. This is due to the fact that Wiltshire is a large rural county and it is uneconomic in some areas to supply broadband and the next generation superfast broadband to homes and businesses. Around 5% of all households currently receive a poor service with very slow broadband speeds and over half of all premises are unlikely to receive superfast broadband by It means if nothing is done a significant number of residents and businesses will find it increasingly difficult to take advantage of the internet and the wide range of on-line services available. Wiltshire Council has recognised the importance of broadband access and has decided to invest 16m in improving access to digital services in areas which would otherwise miss out. This investment along with government grant and additional investment from the telecoms industry will generate over 30m of funds. It is intended this will go a long way towards eliminating the so called digital divide across communities. The council has set a target of 85% and possibly rising to 95% (pending government funding) of all premises to have superfast broadband availability by But supporting superfast broadband access is only one part of the Council s wider digital inclusion project. The objectives set out below illustrate the wider aims of the programme. In 2010, over 30 million or 60% of all adults in the UK accessed the internet nearly every day and yet nearly 20% of the population have never used the internet. Being on-line and using technology is becoming an increasingly regular and important factor, for work, learning or recreational use. Good digital literacy skills and access to technology allows us to benefit in many different ways such as saving money through on-line shopping and paying bills. Access to the internet allows businesses to develop the use of on-line communications, publicity and sales and can be particularly important in rural locations. 2. Project Objectives The Wiltshire Digital Inclusion Programme, which commenced in September 2010, has the following overarching aims; To improve access to broadband for citizens and businesses in Wiltshire. To increase the uptake and usage of council on-line services. To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to become digitally literate and confident users of technology. 3. Outline project deliverables Supporting the development of businesses and the economy. Increasing the usage of council online services. Enabling everyone to improve their digital literacy skills. Page 1

3 4. Project Approach BL2a Digital Inclusion Programme The Wiltshire Digital Inclusion programme has three main themes: connectivity and provision, on-line public services, and digital literacy. The focus of this bid is to seek support for the work for access to superfast broadband connectivity, the targets for which are: 1. A minimal target of 85% premises enabled for superfast broadband access, with all premises enabled for 100% standard broadband by In addition, the minimal target includes no less than 9% of the gap funded premises to be able to receive an FTTP solution, an optimal target coverage of 95% superfast broadband access of all premises and 100% standard (USC) broadband to all premises by This will be achieved by gaining an optimal funding and technical mix. 2. The enhanced programme target is for the optimal target to be achieved, plus enabling up to 20% of the gap funded premises access to FTTP services based upon amount of available BDUK funding awarded. Prioritisation of areas will be based upon economic impact and social needs will be allocated to determine where and when investment for rollout can be targeted, this is likely to be around: Identification of where there is market failure / weak / no business case for the telecoms market to invest. Current broadband provision. Business premises with connectivity below a determined threshold. Lower Population density and degree rurality. Social needs of population based on analysis of Mosiac data. Public service requirements and projection of ageing population (numbers of people aged 65+ by 2020). Acknowledged connectivity issues indicated in regional modelling data or identified in Broadband Provision in Wiltshire study. The project rollout will be spread over 4 years, ( ) will be used to undertake the procurement and state aid requirements. The work will be a single long-term project, phased in agreement with the contractor, so that milestones for premises passed by priority ranking can be monitored accordingly. Areas of highest priority ranking will be put into phase 1; this is likely to include clusters of small and micro businesses and areas with isolated / rural communities with poor connectivity. The phased rollout is likely to occur in the most economical way, e.g. radiating out from geographical areas. This may cause a conflict with the council s priority ranking will need to be clearly understood within the competitive dialogue phase of procurement. Wiltshire s Digital Inclusion Programme has already commenced with the intention of commencing the work for procurement in May 2011 using its own 16 million of investment and that from the industry. Funding from BDUK is being sought to allow for a single investment to be managed within the procurement and associated state aid process. By integrating both the council, BDUK and funding from the industry a sizable and economically attractive contract can be advertised that will invite a high level of engagement from the industry and bring about a good level of competition. Page 2

4 Key milestone Expected date Project definition approved by local Achieved bodies Local Authority investment approval Achieved Confirmation of BDUK funding May 2011 Full project team in place May 2011 Issue of PIN May 2011 Initial state aid notification May 2011 Soft market testing event May 2011 Issue of OJEU Notice June 2011 Demand stimulation survey complete June 2011 PQQ issued June 2011 Prioritisation of white and grey areas June 2011 (see Digital Inclusion Study Oct 2010) Shortlisting of the best proposals September 2011 Competitive dialogue phase October 2011 Invitation to submit a final bid January 2012 Appoint approved bidder February 2012 State Aid approval confirmed February 2012 Contract award March 2012 Phase one rollout (high priority areas) April 2012 Phase two rollout April 2014 Phase three rollout April Interfaces Wiltshire Council will actively work with its neighbouring authorities to ensure that funding for infrastructure developments is planned and managed in a manner to ensure complementary solutions for premises near borders. Wiltshire has eight surrounding Councils: Dorset, Hampshire, West Berkshire, Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Swindon. Success of the programme will require that early planning work is undertaken with these neighbours, to ensure no premises are funded twice and that delivery solutions are complimentary. Contact has been made with each of these Councils to understand the stage of their current plans and to identify where premises on the border fall within the final third. Partnership working with public organisations including the MOD liaison group, emergency services and Health, has begun and is critical to the success of the programme. Good links have already been established with Wiltshire Police and the NHS. The utilisation of these private networks, and/or the aggregation of requirements within specific areas of Wiltshire will allow a stronger business case to be presented to the market and attract greater investment. There is also an opportunity to combine networks to reduce costs and improve flexibility of working. Wiltshire Council will be an active participant with the BDUK programme by sharing its knowledge and processes that it will develop from pre-procurement through to rollout, as well as its wider Digital Inclusion programme. The digital inclusion programme is strongly linked to a number of key partnerships and Wiltshire Council plans and plays a strategic role in supporting many of the expected outcomes. The business plan for the Council has recognised the importance of Digital Inclusion and has prioritised an investment of 16m for this period. The decision to invest in this as well as seeking funding from BDUK is based upon the overwhelming feedback the Council has received both from businesses and also citizens that connectivity is poor or non-existent in many areas across Wiltshire. There is strong evidence that access to technology and good Page 3

5 connectivity does allow business to grow at faster rates than those who don t make best use of this, and that educationally and socially life chances are improved. The need for much improved connectivity and performance is therefore one of the key drivers within the programme and the Council has started with plans to procure and start rollout as a matter of urgency. The potential of funding from BDUK will enable a significant improvement to the number of premises supported by the programme. If an early indication of funding is forthcoming from BDUK, work will be able to proceed as a single procurement and programme of work, over the timescale The Council has the full support of its Members and Cabinet and has already put into place a team to lead the programme and achieve its vision. 6. Exclusions and Constraints The project will require State Aid agreement; this limits intervention by the council to only areas where market failure can be proved. These are termed white areas and is where superfast broadband be deployed within the scope of this work, grey areas are marginal and may be acceptable for intervention, while black are areas deemed to have a good business case for the market to invest. Engagement with the Market to know their rollout plans for the next three years is critical. Funding from BDUK will be available until A potential 350 million may be available to Councils for , but is not guaranteed. Ofcom are working with BT to regulate how it can share access to its poles and ducts by other telecom providers; if successful, this will open up the market and allow greater competition. 7. Assumptions Support to run the project relies upon engagement from a wide range of departments and teams to ensure a coordinated approach, e.g. Economy and Enterprise, Communications, Research, Community Areas, Spatial Planning, Climate change etc. Policies and strategy that reference the outcomes of the Digital Inclusion Programme need to be coordinated to ensure the potential benefits are realised e.g. Core Strategy, Workforce Transformation, Customer Service Programme. 8. Outline Business Case By improving access to broadband for citizens and businesses in Wiltshire all premises within Wiltshire will have access to a minimum broadband service of 2Mbps achieving the Government s aim to have standard broadband available to virtually all areas. A minimum of 85%, (possibly 95%) of premises will be able to access the higher performing next generation superfast broadband access by This will achieve: Much faster internet access which will improve peoples experience of the technology and increase their opportunities to participate in social networking, using streamed media, video conferencing, online banking and shopping, local government services etc. This has many additional effects and benefits which could include for example, reducing people s social isolation, helping care for the elderly, saving money, minimising the need to travel, or increasing property values. Page 4

6 For businesses it allows increased use of on-line tools, improves communication and marketing to customers, and greater flexibility in working location. It can help business viability especially for small-medium sized firms and overcome the disadvantage of being located in more remote rural areas. The Council will also benefit, as it will allow its staff to work more effectively from home or community based locations, reducing the need for costly central office premises. The council s website presence will be developed further to improve its capability to offer a wider range of interactive on-line services. Promotion will also be undertaken to increase demand and take up of on-line services. This will achieve: Improved delivery of local services and communication with residents, which will provide 24-7 access, additional choice of channels etc. The demand for on-line council services will be increased, allowing staff to spend more time on more complex issues and cases requiring their expertise. It will offer the potential to make efficiency savings e.g. in transactional services and could increase the income received by the council. Communities will be supported through the use of volunteers to provide hands on support for digital literacy. Small and medium and micro businesses will also be supported to make the best use of technology including on-line purchasing and communications. This will achieve: More adults being able to use technology and the internet, with fewer feeling digitally excluded, especially amongst the elderly and those on low incomes. It can also help people in getting jobs, as most employers now require digital skills. More demand for internet access and services, especially super fast broadband connectivity. Wiltshire Council has already gained approval at its full council meeting on 22 February for its business plan, which has allocated an investment of 16million for the Digital Inclusion Programme ( 15million for capital expenditure and 1million for revenue for project costs). The total investment fund of 42 million has been identified to implement the vision for the enhanced target of the Digital Inclusion Programme. 9. Risks A full risk assessment is included in the BDUK bid application document. Page 5

7 10. Document History Revision History Date of next revision: tbc Version Number Revision date Previous revision date Summary of Changes Changes marked Approvals This document requires the following approvals. Signed approval forms are filed in the project files. Name Signature Title Date of Issue Version Distribution This document has been distributed to: Name Title Date of Issue Version Page 6

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