To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what work his Department has done with local authorities in County Durham, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Essex and Wokingham to identify, in relation to the broadband rollout, (a) alternative solutions, (b) joint working and fair capital contributions from suppliers and (c) other opportunities to promote competition and value for money.
All the superfast broadband projects supported by the Department are procured through an EU compliant competitive procurement process. The value for money controls include the competitive procurements process itself, in-life cost management and assurance, and independent assurance reviews. The supplier is only compensated to the level required to make the projects commercially viable. If take-up exceeds an agreed baseline, the additional revenues are shared between the supplier and the public sector in proportion to their investments. The supplier takes the risk of take-up being lower than the baseline. The projects are all technology neutral at the procurement stage.
In Oxfordshire, as well as the County Council’s broadband project, the Department has supported the Northmoor project with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs through the Rural Community Broadband Fund, and it is providing support to the Cotswold Broadband project in West Oxfordshire.
The Department is also supporting market test projects to explore alternative superfast broadband solutions in Phase 3 of the Superfast Broadband Programme. One of those projects is in Hampshire. Details of all the pilot projects in Phase 3 are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/321432/Successful_Bids_-_Final_Table.pdf