Our target through West Yorkshire & York Phase 2 Project is to improve broadband speeds so that there is 100% coverage throughout the county area, at a minimum of 2 megabits per second (2Mbps) and 95% coverage of next generation access (NGA) technology that the European Commission determines capable of providing 'superfast' broadband speeds (minimum 24 Mbps) by 2017.
It is widely known that the focus of broadband providers tends to be in urban areas where there is commercial viability through an established demand base of residential and business customers, connected to an existing communications infrastructure. However, across West Yorkshire, our latest projection is that there are estimated to be c.46,600 premises which are poorly served.
Funding and legislation
As the West Yorkshire and York Phase 2 Project will benefit from up to £13.8m of Public Sector funding to stimulate the considerable private infrastructure investment required, UK and European state aid rules and other relevant legislation must be taken into account. This is to ensure that the funding is being targeted at the correct areas for the correct reasons and that public sector monies will not displace planned investment by commercial providers. Hence, our project will only invest where it is permissible to do so within these rules to leverage the best outcome.
European Regional Development Fund
The project received £7.3m of funding from
the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European
Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for
Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater
London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development
Fund. ERDF and ESF Branding and Publicity Requirements ESIF-GN-1-005, Version 6
Date published 1 November 2016.
Established by the European Union, the European
Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic
development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses,
create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
- to ensure that all areas of West Yorkshire that have not had private sector investment have access to superfast broadband by end 2017;
- to deliver this at a fair price and through an open network which attracts a wide variety of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) – ensuring healthy competition;
- to ensure that all households and businesses are encouraged to take-up and exploit superfast broadband to its full potential – supporting economic growth and strengthening community connectivity for social benefit;
- to ensure that ICT is at the heart of the way Public Services are delivered in West Yorkshire, leading to innovation and significant efficiency savings – optimising further investment;
- to support economic growth in key locations such as the city region Enterprise Zone and other business parks;
- promoting social inclusion and accessibility for all, particularly those areas suffering the highest deprivation in West Yorkshire & York; and
- maximising competition in the market where possible to drive down costs and promote local economic growth.
In its recent public consultation on a Superfast Extension Programme for
broadband provision published on 8 December 2014, the West Yorkshire &
York Phase 2 Broadband project informed stakeholders that it intended to
conduct a further procurement exercise to deliver extended coverage of
superfast broadband to as many additional premises as possible, using
public funding of £6.9m UK government funding (from Broadband UK, BDUK)
and £6.9m of European funding (from the European Regional Development
The West Yorkshire and York Phase 2 Broadband
project is now looking to secure additional funding of up to £3.2m to
further extend coverage which could be included in this procurement
exercise in addition to the £6.9m BDUK/£6.9m ERDF already announced.
The maps that have been created from the information provided show which areas currently have services and where known future plans of commercial providers – plus identification of perceived under-served areas. These maps will form the basis of our intervention plans to discuss with potential suppliers interested in investing and contracting to deliver improved broadband services.