Rural FTTC cabinet upgrades in scope of BDUK

The request was successful.

Dear Norfolk County Council,

Please forward this request to the department that deals with Freedom of Information requests.

[1a]I would like to request a copy of the full and detailed selection criteria that is used by NCC/BBFN for allocation of money under state aid for upgrading cabinets in scope of BDUK to FTTC 'superfast broadband'.

[1b]I would also like to request that you publish detailed information on the proportion of cabinets upgraded by exchange under BDUK funding in accordance with [1a].

[2a]Understanding timescales can move and in respect to geographical area, Lighthouse Close, Happisburgh NR12OQE connected to cabinet 7 EAWCT. Can you please provide a transparent plan and projected timescale of its upgrade from BDUK funding.

[3a]Please publish the full contract between BDUK, BT and SCC/RCC/DCC/SCA, as well as any supporting documents and documents delivered by BT as part of their submission. If a BDUK boilerplate contract was used, please publish the original boilerplate contract in addition to the final contract signed.

[4a]I would like to know for the three most recent quarter years, the percentage take-up of superfast broadband where green cabinets (or Exchange Only lines) have been upgraded with fibre-optic cable as part of the BDUK-funded rural broadband project.

Where information is commercially sensitive, please bear in mind the FoI public interest guidelines; given the significant amount of public money invested in the framework, the fact that this framework must coexist with the Rural Community Broadband Fund, and that this contract is delivering money under state aid guidance,
there is an extremely compelling public interest case for the release of the contract in full. Additionally, BT have specifically stated on numerous occasions in public, including to ministers of the Public Accounts Committee, that they would like councils to publish their documentation.

Yours faithfully,

David Baker
Campaign for Better Rural Broadband

Norfolk County Council

Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations
2004

Dear Mr Baker

Thank you for your Information request, received on 11/06/2015 which has
been logged with reference ICM0005135

Our twenty working day deadline for your request is 09/07/2015 and we aim
to respond as soon as possible within the time period.

You will be informed in advance if there is a charge for supplying copies
of the information. We will also provide an explanation if a ny
information is not released to you.

If the requested information contains references to any third parties, we
may need to consult with them before deciding whether or not to release
the information.Should you have any queries regarding your request, please
feel free to contact me.

Yours Sincerely

Stephen Andreassen

Information Compliance Team

01603 222661

[1][email address]

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Dear Norfolk County Council,

Thank you for a prompt confirmation of receiving the request. May I please advise that question [2a] is no longer relevant as I have the answer kindly provided by BBFN.

Yours faithfully,

David Baker

Information Management, Norfolk County Council

Dear Mr Baker

 

Freedom of Information request – ICM5135

 

Thank for your Freedom of Information request dated 11 June 2015.  In
answer to your questions:

 

[1a]I would like to request a copy of the full and detailed selection
criteria that is used by NCC/BBFN for allocation of money under state aid
for upgrading cabinets in scope of BDUK to FTTC 'superfast broadband'.

 

Norfolk County Council has let two contracts, one in 2012 and one in 2014
for Better Broadband for Norfolk.  This information is available at the
Better Broadband for Norfolk website, at
[1]http://www.betterbroadbandnorfolk.co.uk/...

Please in particular refer to the ITT Part 2 documents for each contract. 
This is separate and additional to the BDUK assurance process.

 

[1b]I would also like to request that you publish detailed information on
the proportion of cabinets upgraded by exchange under BDUK funding in
accordance with [1a].

 

Norfolk County Council does not hold this specific information.  However,
we have set out below a table of information we do hold that contains
similar information.  This sets out the position without the benefit of
further funding from the rural district councils, which is presently being
finalised.

 

 

  Total No. Commercial BBfN Combined BBfN Combined
of coverage original commercial second commercial
premises contract and BBfN contract and total
coverage original coverage BBfN
in at contract coverage
district completion coverage
or county
Breckland 61,095 30% 49% 79% 9% 87%
Broadland 57,780 56% 30% 86% 6% 92%
Great 47,417 66% 27% 93% 1% 95%
Yarmouth
King’s 73,993 29% 54% 83% 6% 89%
Lynn and
West
Norfolk
North 56,112 11% 64% 74% 10% 85%
Norfolk
Norwich 69,343 93% 5% 98% 1% 99%
South 58,860 15% 61% 75% 10% 86%
Norfolk
Norfolk 424,600 43% 41% 84% 6% 90%
total

 

 

[3a]Please publish the full contract between BDUK, BT and SCC/RCC/DCC/SCA,
as well as any supporting documents and documents delivered by BT as part
of their submission. If a BDUK boilerplate contract was used, please
publish the original boilerplate contract in addition to the final
contract signed.

 

Please refer to the documents published at
[2]http://www.betterbroadbandnorfolk.co.uk/...

 

Some of the content of the contracts has not been included, and this is
because they contain commercially sensitive information.  Details of the
relevant exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 are set our
further below.  Please also refer to the explanatory table to the contract
on the website, giving details of the parts of the contract redacted.

 

[4a]I would like to know for the three most recent quarter years, the
percentage take-up of superfast broadband where green cabinets (or
Exchange Only lines) have been upgraded with fibre-optic cable as part of
the BDUK-funded rural broadband project.

 

The information Norfolk County Council holds in respect of this is
commercially sensitive.

 

Exemption Applied – Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 –
Commercially Sensitive Information

 

The information identified above is exempt under Section 43(2) of the FOIA
because its disclosure would harm the commercial interests of the
contractor who the information relates to.  As this is a qualified
exemption, it is subject to a public interest test.  The purpose of this
test is to ascertain whether the public interest in maintaining the
exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure.  In this case,
there is a clear public interest in public authorities being transparent
in the way they spend public money and the decisions that underpin this. 
This is weighed against the fact that contractors operate in a commercial
market and as such relevant sensitive information could not be shared with
the Council, or would be shared to a more limited extent, if such
information were routinely subject to disclosure.  It would make
commercial contractors less willing to contract with public authorities,
and only on terms that took into account the commercial detriment to them
of their sensitive information being disclosed. It is considered that
these reasons outweigh the public interest in disclosure, and,
accordingly, the exemption is maintained.

 

Please note that if you are dissatisfied with our handling of your request
you have the right of appeal through the County Council's internal
complaints procedure by setting out the grounds of your appeal in writing
to:

The Compliments and Complaints Manager
FREEPOST 1H 2076
Norwich NR1 2BR
Email: [3][email address]

An appeal should be submitted within 40 working days of the date of this
notice and marked "FOI Appeal".

If you are still dissatisfied after pursuing the County Council’s internal
complaints procedure you may apply to the Information Commissioner under
Section 50 of the Act for a decision whether or not your request for
information has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of
Part I of the Act.

 

Below are the contact details for the Information Commissioner.

First Contact Team
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Email: [4][email address]
[5]http://www.ico.gov.uk

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Information Compliance Team

Information Management Service

Norfolk County Council

County Hall

Martineau Lane

Norwich

NR1 2DH

 

T: 01603 222661

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear Norfolk County Council,

Thank you for the reply, I can confirm all request for [1a][1b][2a] and [3a] have been satisfied.

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

The specifics for point [4a] have been freely released by other councils (examples, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire council https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...) which falls inline with ministers from the Public Accounts Committee and BT's continued view that information must be made public. BTOR has unilaterally won BDUK contracts across the UK and in most instances, no other contractors have even bid. As the state aid is being spent on infrastructure with a monopoly subsidiary, the commercial sensitivity on uptake would only be applicable to competition of Internet Service Providers ("ISP") however as I understand it, no state spend is allocated to BT's consumer division and all ISP's would be legally entitled to use the state funded infrastructure to operate as set out by OFCOM.

I would find it very peculiar for differing councils to have differing governance and stances on a state aid framework and certainly, the interpretation of commercial sensitivity must be clear and consistent across the framework. The uptake is an important indicator to the public's confidence on:
[1] Public spend on BT infrastructure is economical in the sense that public are then going on to use the new service
[2] Allows transparency against the decision making of what area's are going live

I will also contact BT who would certainly provide the information to Norfolk County Council however I am writing to request an internal review of Norfolk County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Rural FTTC cabinet upgrades in scope of BDUK' - specifically and only focused on request [4a].

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r...

Yours faithfully,

David Baker

Jay, Sharon, Norfolk County Council

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Baker,

 

Thank you for your email of 13 July 2015 in which you request a review of
your FOI request.

 

I can confirm that a review of your FOI request will be carried out and
the target date for this be completed is within 20 working days of this
email.

 

If in the meantime you require information, please contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Sharon Jay

Customer Service (Complaints) Case Manager

Customer Service and Communication

Tel:  01603 223042

Email:  [1][email address]

 

Please rate the service you received in this email?

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Jay, Sharon, Norfolk County Council

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Baker  

 

I am now able to confirm that the review of your FOI appeal has been
carried out by our Information Compliance Manager. Please accept my
sincere apologies for the delay in responding.

 

The outcome of your appeal can be found in the attached report. In
conclusion this review does not uphold the previously made decision.

 

Should you remain dissatisfied with the response to your appeal, you may
wish to contact the Information Commissioner at the following address:

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (or 01625 545745 if you would prefer not to call an
‘03’ number)

 

You may also find the following link to the Information Commissioner
website useful:

[1]http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...

 

Yours sincerely

 

Sharon Jay

Customer Service (Complaints) Case Manager

Customer Service and Communication

Tel:  01603 223042

Email:  [2][email address]

 

Please rate the service you received in this email?

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Dear Sharon Jay,

Thank you for responding. I can confirm that all requests have been satisfactorily answered with no action or activity outstanding.

Thanks and kind regards,

David Baker

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