Consultation into Extending Superfast Broadband Coverage

Merseyside Connected is aiming to extend the availability of Super-fast Broadband across Merseyside.

Merseyside Connected conducted its most recent public consultation between 8th February 2013 and 8th March 2013 as a precursor to the selection of British Telecommunications (BT) on 9th August 2013 for its Phase 1 project under the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme to deliver Superfast Broadband to the defined intervention area with State aid approved public funding of £10.8m.

The contracts with BT included provisions to ensure that the full amount of the public funding is deployed, and that in the event that take-up of superfast broadband services exceeds forecasts in the contract, then the amount of public subsidy required would subsequently be reduced to reflect this. Any funds released are then available to be reinvested into further coverage of Superfast Broadband under the terms of the contracts.

In August 2015, BT announced that take-up across the UK was likely to exceed the forecast level of 20%. To date, BT has made available up to £129m across the UK to meet the contractual obligations outlined above. Merseyside Connected has received an initial allocation of £1.8m and intends to reinvest this in further coverage as part of the current contracts.

The purpose of this public consultation is to confirm the areas which do not have Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure delivering at least 30Mbps, or where there are no plans to provide such infrastructure over the next three years. These are described as “white NGA areas”. This is to enable all interested stakeholders – the public, businesses and telecommunications providers – to comment on the proposed white NGA areas before further coverage is committed.
Merseyside Connected will then submit its final proposals for the NGA white area, taking account of the outcome of the public consultation, to BDUK’s National Competence Centre for clearance.

This State Aid public consultation will be open and run for one calendar month until 16th June 2016. Details of how to respond can be found in the consultation document below.

Once the State aid public consultation is complete and the white NGA areas have been finalised by Merseyside Connected, a change will be agreed by the local body and BT to deliver the extended Superfast Broadband Coverage.