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Consultation - Extending superfast broadband coverage

23 March 2016

The Highlands and Islands Next Generation Broadband Project is aiming to extend the availability of Superfast Broadband across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. 

The contract 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 contracts, 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. Highlands and Islands Enterprise has received an initial allocation of £2.23m and intends to reinvest this in further coverage as part of the current contracts.

Details of this announcement can be found here > 

Purpose of consultation

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.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise 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.

Timescales

This State Aid public consultation will be open from 23 March and run for one calendar month until 25 April 2016.

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

How to respond

Please download the documents below for further information and details on how to respond.

When responding to this this State Aid Public Consultation, Highlands and Islands Enterprise require you to provide the following:

  • Your organisation’s name
  • Your organisation’s address
  • Your name
  • Position
  • Contact telephone number
  • Email address

We also request confirmation from an authorised signatory that the information provided is suitably accurate and up-to-date.

Please send your response to arrive no later than 17:00 on 25 April 2016 by email to: hidigital@hient.co.uk (marked “Highlands and Islands Public Consultation Response”)

or by post to:
Highlands and Islands Next Generation Broadband Project
Public Consultation Response
Fraser House
Friar’s Lane
Inverness
IV1 1BA

Please note that any information you provide in your response will be treated as commercially confidential to your organisation. However, it may be necessary to share some or all of your response with our professional advisors and/or DCMS/BDUK, Ofcom, the National Competence Centre, and the European Commission, in the course of seeking State Aid approval. The Highlands and Islands Enterprise name is also subject to certain legal obligations to disclose information in certain other limited circumstances.

It should also be noted that it is a State Aid requirement to utilise the information provided in response to this consultation to refine our State Aid maps to define White/Grey/Black areas for NGA and Basic Broadband. However, the published maps will show the aggregated White/Grey/Black NGA and Basic Broadband areas, not the data provided on a per-operator basis.

Contact

If you have any questions about this State Aid public consultation process, please contact the Project Team by email at andrea.rutherford@hient.co.uk


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