Theoretical Exercise

Launched as part of the industry day by BDUK on the 15th July, the theoretical exercise was to understand the choice of cost effective solutions available to provide a minimum level of coverage to all premises without access to at least 2Mbps broadband.

We defined three real world areas and asked suppliers to tell us how they would invest in infrastructure in those areas, how much it would cost and what level of subsidy they would need.

A significant number of companies responded and we are very grateful for the time they invested in undertaking the exercise and presenting their responses to us.

We have published a report covering the results of this exercise.  The main conclusions were:

  • Delivering a minimum level of broadband coverage should not be seen as separate from our objective of having the best superfast broadband network in Europe, but rather as an integral part of pushing next generation networks deep into rural Britain
  • The investment needed for coverage is dependent ton the needs of the region or locality – there is a clear role of local authorities to establish a formal requirement for broadband d to the area in a strategy
  • The exercise clearly demonstrated the importance of scale; suppliers investing on the basis of 20k+ users (for example) would significantly lower the size of the subsidy needed for a project / procurement
  • A solution to the challenge will involve a mix of technologies (e.g. fibre, wireless, copper, mobile, satellite).  Geographic densities are a guide to options for cost effective and sustainable solutions
  • BDUK are considering steps to ensure mobile broadband coverage is part of the mix of solutions used to deliver broadband to difficult rural areas
  • The provision of affordable backhaul in these rural areas as part of the governments delivery approach  would positively impact the business case of the private sector investment in fibre, fixed wireless and mobile solutions in those areas, reducing the subsidy needed to provide universal coverage
  • The level of competition for data backhaul and access in the marketplace is dependent  on the availability and pricing of access to passive infrastructure (i.e. poles and ducts).

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