Digital Scotland – Reaching 100% programme: public consultation report (revised)

Revised Scottish Government responses to the consultation into the eligible intervention area for investment of public funds into Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure.

5. Next Steps

The Scottish Government has used this information to define the Intervention Area in order to submit an application for State Aid Approval to invest public funds into the deployment of NGA broadband infrastructure within Scotland.

The Scottish Government published an OJEU Notice marking the start of the formal procurement process on 14th December 2017. The process required for the provision of NGA broadband infrastructure was expected to take up to two years and the Scottish Government expected to award contracts late 2019.

Four bidders were shortlisted for the detailed procurement phase, these were:

  • Axione
  • British Telecom
  • Gigaclear
  • SSE Telecom

The procurement initially targeted rural areas by removing from scope premises within settlements with a population of more than 125,000 people; namely Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. This is to ensure that early investment is targeted at those areas of greatest need and to allow the market time to address urban areas. The procurement also did not target premises achieving speeds of greater than 24Mbps as these premises are likely to see an uplift in speed above 30Mbps as a result of supplier technology upgrades. A small number of further postcodes will not be in scope as a result of an ongoing extension to current NGA contracts. The premise breakdown for this can be seen below:

  Out of Scope Reason Count UPRN
1 NGA White premises in large urban areas 30,539
2 NGA White premises between 24-30 Mbps, beyond reason 1 27,999
3 NGA White premises set aside for other initiatives, beyond reasons 1 & 2 854
  Total 59,392

This leaves 143,110 NGA White premises in-scope for the main procurement.

In order to ensure the procurement delivers a core infrastructure across Scotland for the delivery of not only broadband services, but also to support the delivery of 4G and 5G mobile services, the procurement includes a number of mandated areas in some of the most remote, rural parts of Scotland.

The procurement is separated into three geographic lots – North, Central and South. These can be seen in Appendix D. The Scottish Government announced on 10October 2019 that BT plc was the sole bidder for the Central and South lots and confirmed on 21 November 2019 that BT plc was the preferred bidder for the North lot. Following appropriate due diligence, governance and State Aid approval, the Scottish Government agreed contracts with BT plc across Central and South lots on 16 December 2019.

The North lot is subject to a legal challenge from Gigaclear Limited. Until that challenge is heard and resolved, a contract cannot be awarded.

Further details on the outcomes of the contracts, including a premise-level checker, and the demand-led intervention programme will be published in due course.



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