Working together to bring high-speed broadband providers to Herefordshire and Gloucestershire

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1 Briefing Note No.5 April Working together to bring high-speed broadband providers to Herefordshire and Gloucestershire click on highlighted text to 'skip' to content, or print off document Public sector investment in broadband will lead to massive boost for our local economies Borders Broadband household & business questionnaire results Progress on procurement Supporting rural businesses Broadband champions BT Internet Ranger Schools Awards The story so far Visit for: Information sheets for businesses and communities Earlier Borders Broadband briefings Frequently Asked Questions Press releases Background information The Borders Broadband project is managed by a partnership of Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council, GFirst (Gloucestershire s Local Enterprise Partnership) and government agency Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) to enable improved county-wide coverage of broadband.

2 Public sector investment in broadband will lead to massive boost for our local economies Public sector investment in high-speed broadband will translate into a massive boost for the local economies of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, according to the results of an economic impact assessment by the Borders Broadband project. The assessment concludes that the impact over ten years could lead to an increase in GVA (Gross Value Added) of almost 420m. This growth will not be delivered by the infrastructure alone and will be highly dependent on businesses optimising the infrastructure by implementing new business processes and achieving efficiency gains, increasing competitiveness and assuring resilience. For this reason, the Borders Broadband project is embarking on a range of activities to stimulate demand and inform businesses about how to get the best value from high-speed broadband. A key component of the Borders Broadband Project is to stimulate awareness and demand for takeup of the faster broadband provision among SME business across its rural areas. (See Supporting rural businesses ) Gloucestershire is working with other South West partners to secure European funding for a project which will provide a business support programme. The complementary programme will offer a series of awareness-raising events and specialist advice and support to target and drive up demand within the business community, explaining the benefits of high-speed broadband and show businesses how best to exploit it. Plans are being finalised for events likely to start in the Autumn. Borders Broadband household & business questionnaire results The Borders Broadband survey of businesses in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire generated 1,512 responses. It found that: Around one in six businesses have broadband download speeds of less than 0.5 Megabits per second (Mbps) - the national average is 7.6 Mbps Nearly half of businesses have download speeds well below 2 Mbps the minimum broadband speed the Government says should be available to every UK home or business Six out of ten businesses are either very dissatisfied or dissatisfied with their current internet service Most rate the need for faster internet as very important The household surveys conducted in both counties generated some useful and interesting responses.

3 In Herefordshire, 5,075 questionnaires were completed. Here are some headline results: Over three quarters of survey respondents see broadband as essential to their home life Over a third of households in Herefordshire have download speeds well below 2 Mbps (Megabits per second) the minimum broadband speed the Government says should be available to every UK home or business. Around one in ten households have speeds less than 0.5 Mbps One in six people use their household internet for school, college or university studies, while over a third use the internet at home for work, either for their employer or to run their own business More than half of households spend over 20 hours a week on the internet at home (collectively as a household) Around one in ten households have four or five computers or other devices connected to the internet at home Top three current uses for broadband at home are: 1. Searching for goods and services 2. Buying goods and services 3. Paying bills and online banking Top three desired uses for broadband at home (if they had faster broadband) are: 1. Watching TV or video 2. Using internet functions on TV 3. Using Skype In Gloucestershire, 5,960 questionnaires were completed. Here are some headline results: Nearly all Gloucestershire households have access to the internet at home - most of these are dissatisfied with their internet speed Most experience sluggish internet service at certain times of day. Nearly half regularly lose their connection Nearly all of these households would like high-speed internet in the future Nearly half of households reported having download speeds below 2 Mbps. Around one in four households have speeds below 1Mbps A third of those with internet at home use it for school, college or university studies Six out of ten use the internet at home for work, either for their employer or to run a business More than half of households spend over 20 hours per week on the internet at home (collectively as a household) Top three uses for the internet at home are: 1. searching for goods and services 2. using 3. buying goods and services Top three desired uses for broadband at home (if they had faster broadband) are: 1. online radio/tv/films/videos 2. video communication (e.g. Skype) 3. downloading music/photos/graphics

4 Progress on procurement The Borders Broadband project has completed the Invitation to Submit Detailed Solutions (ISDS) stage in its procurement to let a contract for the installation and operation of the broadband network in the rural parts of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. This stage means that potential suppliers have given details on how the service could operate for the money available. Considerable assessment and evaluation is underway, with a further round of dialogue planned to understand exactly what is possible and when. The funds available from national Government (via BDUK) and commitment from Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council are to assist areas in the counties to receive a broadband service that would otherwise not be enabled by a commercial provider because it would not provide a financial return on investment. The funding will be offered on a gap funding basis with public sector money used to bring longterm economic benefit, and support residents to access services. It is therefore expected that the commercial supplier would make a significant contribution to capital investment. Supporting rural businesses Herefordshire Council and the UK Information Technology Association (UKITA) have developed a toolkit to help the county s businesses understand how high-speed broadband can make them more efficient, save them money and help them grow faster. And a series of free events for businesses are being rolled out across Herefordshire in April to highlight the potential benefits of using internet services over faster broadband, using case studies and demonstrating how the internet can be used. Faster broadband can save firms time and money with online communications. It can speed up business by being able to quickly send and receive large files, and it offers more flexible working and reduced travel costs. Andrew Corbett, Membership Development Director of the UK IT Association said "Herefordshire is really taking the lead here. This is the first time in the UK that we have seen an initiative to carry the message of business transformation through Next Generation Access broadband to even the most rural businesses." The UKITA events are FREE and will run from 5-7pm, with light refreshments provided. For full details, visit Gloucestershire is working with other South West partners to secure European funding for a project which will provide a business support programme.

5 The complementary programme will offer a series of awareness-raising events and specialist advice and support to target and drive up demand within the business community, explaining the benefits of high-speed broadband and show businesses how best to exploit it. Plans are being finalised for events likely to start in the Autumn. A two-page information sheet for businesses to demonstrate the benefits better broadband will bring to business has been produced. Find it at or Broadband Champions The Broadband Champions have been of great assistance to the project with communicating its progress, gathering local views and ensuring questionnaires are completed. As the project moves to the next stage we are keen to discuss with Broadband Champions how we can get more people using the internet in preparation for the improved network. The survey results have shown there is great demand for improved broadband, however we want to ensure that every makes the most of the new network once in place. The demand stimulation programme will be run in parallel with the national Go ON campaign (http://learn.go-on.co.uk) to raise awareness of the benefits of internet use and ensure no-one is excluded from the advantage it can offer in terms of communication, financial benefit and access to services. Broadband champions will be contacted directly with details about further developments. BT Internet Ranger Schools Awards BT is searching for schools (or a group of schools) who have helped or want to help older people in their local community make the most of the internet. The winning secondary school will receive 4,000, a winning primary/middle school will receive 3,000 and two runner-up schools will each receive 2,500. Teachers who submit the winning applications will each receive 250 in IT vouchers. Applications need to be submitted by 5.00pm on Friday 2nd November. Full details here

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