Broadband upgrades in rural areas

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport,

Broadband upgrades in rural areas

As a result of recent media coverage I am aware that the government is in advanced discussions with BT to deliver broadband upgrades to more than a million rural homes and bring them up to speed with the rest of the country.

I am concerned that the government has not adequately explored other reasonable alternatives (there are already many companies supplying broadband in rural areas by utilising wifi) and that the government may be in breach of tendering legislation by failing to consider alternative methods of broadband provision.

I am also concerned that the government may be favouring BT at the expense of other service providers, which may constitute a breach of competition regulations.

Therefore, could you please provide me with any information that will clarify;

a) If alternative types of service provision have been considered by the government
b) If any alternative service providers have been considered by the government
c) All tendering documents related to this service upgrade

Please note I am not asking for any commercially sensitive information relating to the ongoing discussion between the government and BT.

FOI law requires public bodies to take account of requestor's preferred means of communication. Therefore, to ensure transparency and openness would you please publish any response to this FOI request to this WhatDoTheyKnow web site.

Yours faithfully,

Tony Dixon
On behalf of Zoom Internet Ltd.
www.zoom-internet.co.uk

FOI Mailbox, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Thank you for your email which is now being dealt with by the Freedom of
Information Team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 
You will receive a response to your information request within 20 working
days of receipt.
  

no-reply@dcms.ecase.co.uk on behalf of Correspondence Team, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

FOI2017/03292

Mr Tony Dixon

[FOI #425060 email]

Dear Mr Dixon,

Thank you for your email of 13 August 2017, in which you requested the
following:

Dear Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport,

Broadband upgrades in rural areas

As a result of recent media coverage I am aware that the government is in
advanced discussions with BT to deliver broadband upgrades to more than a
million rural homes and bring them up to speed with the rest of the
country.

I am concerned that the government has not adequately explored other
reasonable alternatives (there are already many companies supplying
broadband in rural areas by utilising wifi) and that the government may be
in breach of tendering legislation by failing to consider alternative
methods of broadband provision.

I am also concerned that the government may be favouring BT at the expense
of other service providers, which may constitute a breach of competition
regulations.

Therefore, could you please provide me with any information that will
clarify;

* a) If alternative types of service provision have been considered by
the government
* b) If any alternative service providers have been considered by the
government
* c) All tendering documents related to this service upgrade

Please note I am not asking for any commercially sensitive information
relating to the ongoing discussion between the government and BT.

FOI law requires public bodies to take account of requestor's preferred
means of communication. Therefore, to ensure transparency and openness
would you please publish any response to this FOI request to this
WhatDoTheyKnow web site.

I have dealt with the third part of your request (question c) under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act). I can confirm The Department
for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport does not hold any information within
the scope of your request.

With regards to your first two questions, we have responded to these as
general correspondence as they are not requests for recorded information
as defined by the Act.

The superfast Broadband Programme has been implemented through contracts
between local authorities and the devolved administrations and suppliers.
The contracts under phase 1 of the programme were all won by BT,
Gigaclear, Callflow, Airband, UK Broadband and ITS.

Procurements undertaken between 2012 and 2015 were able to use the
Broadband Framework contract that was in place between DCMS and BT and
Fujitsu. The Framework contract ended in June 2015. Eleven of the original
44 contracts under phase 1 of the programme were subject to open
competition and the remainder used the Framework contract.

Procurements undertaken since 2016 are all required to be open to all
suppliers and have been able to use the set of templates produced by BDUK
at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

Other government intervention through Broadband Delivery UK has included:

- The Connection Voucher scheme, part of the Super Connected Cities
programme. This was technology neutral, providing the technology could
meet the step change requirements of the scheme, and had over 800
suppliers register to supply services. The scheme has now closed.

- The Market Test Pilots programme, which explored with 7 different
suppliers a range of technology solutions to provide broadband in harder
to reach places

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...)

- The Better Broadband Voucher Scheme, which has around 100 suppliers
registered using a range of technologies to provide connections to those
unable to receive a connection of 2Mbits/s
(https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...)

The Universal Service Obligation is currently the subject of a
consultation whichisat:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultati....

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

4th floor, 100 Parliament Street

London SW1A 2BQ

Tel: 020 7211 6395

www.gov.uk/dcms

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