Open Market Review - Superfast and Gigabit Broadband Infrastructure in Scotland - Request for Information
The Scottish Government is developing a procurement approach for funding contracts to suppliers delivering gigabit-capable wholesale infrastructure in Scotland. This Open Market Review will be used to produce a draft intervention area that may be targeted for public intervention.
Introduction and Background
The Scottish Government last issued an Open Market Review (OMR) of broadband infrastructure in December 2016. The purpose was to help us define an intervention area for investment of public funds into Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure in support of our 100% superfast broadband commitment, via the Reaching 100% Programme (R100). Since confirming the intervention area via a State Aid Public Consultation in July 2017 and further checking eligibility via a State Aid Public Consultation in December 2020, we have been operating a rolling OMR with NGA suppliers in order to take account of the latest commercial plans. This has been invaluable for the on-going delivery of the R100 Programme.
In March 2021, the UK Government announced an ambition to deliver nationwide gigabit-capable broadband as soon as possible, recognising that there is a need for government intervention in the parts of the country that are not commercially viable. They have committed a total of £5bn to ensure that all areas of the UK can benefit. This will be spent through a package of coordinated and mutually supportive interventions, collectively known as Project Gigabit, with an initial intervention of £1.2bn targeting at least 85% gigabit coverage of the UK by 2025 and nationwide gigabit-capable broadband by 2030.
As part of Project Gigabit, the Scottish Government is working with UK Government to develop a procurement approach for funding contracts to suppliers delivering gigabit-capable wholesale infrastructure in Scotland. This procurement approach will be a successor to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme and work in parallel with the current R100 programme.
This Open Market Review will be used to produce a draft intervention area that will inform the Scottish Government of eligible premises that may be targeted for public investment in any future intervention exercise and replaces the current NGA rolling OMR.
We invite suppliers to provide us with information about their broadband infrastructure within Scotland as detailed below. This will allow the Scottish Government to identify the areas which are currently not commercially viable and/or where no infrastructure exists or is planned to be built within the next three years (and beyond, if available).
We intend to use this data as well as that available through Ofcom's Connected Nations publication and other sources available to the Scottish Government to allow us to carry out an assessment of existing and planned broadband connectivity.
Suppliers should also include in their Annex B data submission, any existing or planned infrastructure funded in part from public subsidy, for example UK and/or Scottish Vouchers, Superfast Broadband procured in line with either the National Broadband Scheme 2012 or 2016 and any other publicly funded initiative (including Local Full Fibre Networks and Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programmes).
In this way, working with suppliers, we hope to further enhance the comprehensive dataset we already hold across Scotland from the current rolling OMR process, noting that this OMR will repeat at regular intervals in the same way as the one it replaces.
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