North Yorkshire County Council
Superfast North Yorkshire – Phase 3
Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objective
North Yorkshire is the largest geographical county in England. Many of its rural communities suffered from the digital divide, with limited or no access to internet services putting them at a significant social and commercial disadvantage. The project was first formed in 2010 to deliver and build a pioneering, multimillion pound network that would transform North Yorkshire’s broadband speed. By the end of phase 1 and 2 89% of premises could receive superfast broadband allowing continual business growth, educational developments and social value across the county at exceptional value for money for the taxpayer. Despite the success of the first two phases some communities were still receiving inadequate or even non-existent broadband connectivity, these represented the hardest to reach areas. Phase 3 encompassed the enormous and complex aim of delivering a contract to reach as many of these areas as possible. The change this cross functional project brings to residents lives should not be underestimated. The project will provide a significant economic uplift to rural communities in North Yorkshire. An evaluation of Phase 1 of the project showed a Gross Value Add to the North Yorkshire economy of over £30M.
What are the key achievements?
- Cross functional project team established across the council and its wholly-owned company NYnet including procurement, legal, finance and technical experts.
- Inclusion and consultation with the operators, trade society and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport throughout the project.
- Development of a bidding mechanism that opened the bid process up to smaller suppliers supporting the inclusion of SMEs
- Use of a Competitive Procedure with Negotiation (CPN) procurement process, previously unused in the authority, which allowed for creativity and the ability for the project team to drive the best commercial outcome for the taxpayer.
- Successful contract award to Openreach to deliver the project
- The cross functional project team have been recognised as a pioneer of the process in the Yorkshire and Humber Region for CPN.
- Increase and boost to the North Yorkshire economy for continued business growth
- Expanded educational opportunities through access to learning materials and support those growing up in North Yorkshire
- Delivery of cost-effective technology to enhance social aspects and improve quality of life.
What are the key learning points?
The rurality, size and sparseness as England’s largest county proved unattractive to telecoms operators as a commercial return for the area was more difficult to achieve than in other areas of the country. Therefore broadband providers were unlikely to offer their services to more than 42% of business and residential premises. The cross functional project team consulted with a number of telecoms operators as well as the telecommunications trade society (INCA), to establish the most practical options that would encourage the operators to bid. The strategic aim of the project is the eradication of the digital divide and to provide rural communities the same opportunities as those enjoyed elsewhere. This would have the effect of increasing access to super fast broadband to previously unobtainable rural areas, supporting continual business growth, educational and social aspects. Fourteen thousand more North Yorkshire homes will get super fast broadband because of this cross functional project. Some of the things we take for granted in our personal and professional lives are now a reality for the first time for residents and businesses in rural areas of North Yorkshire. The project will be transformational for residents and businesses.
Councillor Don Mackenzie, the County Council’s Executive Member for Broadband“The outcome of the phase three procurement is remarkable and puts the quality of broadband provision to some of our most remote communities on to a new, much higher level. “It is very good news indeed for those residents who have been waiting patiently for SFNY to get to them and their patience is likely to be rewarded with some of the best broadband quality in the country.” “Openreach will now be compiling a list of communities, which are likely to be included in the phase three programme and which we expect to be able to publish in April. “The council and SFNY will consider further additional investment in super fast for the residual five per cent of premises likely to be excluded from the phase three list, so that they too have the possibility of receiving high quality broadband between now and 2021, when phase three concludes.’’
The County Council Leader, Councillor Carl Les “Phase three of SFNY’s broadband expansion programme represents a fantastic boost to the economy of the county and will give many more small rural firms the ability to compete and to grow their businesses. “The provision of high quality broadband has been a major priority for the county council to address the fact that commercial providers would never have delivered it without our intervention. It has been a major multi-million pound investment by the county council to reach as near to 100% of our residents as possible.