8th February 2016 - WarwickNet delivers superfast broadband to Berkshire businesses

 

Three sites across Berkshire have now been connected with superfast broadband thanks to a partnership between Superfast Berkshire and high-speed internet provider WarwickNet. The areas of Winnersh Triangle in Wokingham and Bennet Road & Cradock Road areas in Reading are the first of many planned sites that have been provided with a range of connectivity solutions from high-capacity leased lines to business broadband of up to 100 Mbps. Icon for pdf Press Release [102.8KB]

Further details on other business communities that are planned to be covered will be published on the project website once details have been finalised.

 

18th December 2015 - Berkshire Basic Broadband - Satellite Scheme

 

Under our Phase 1 contract, Superfast Berkshire made a commitment to ensure that all premises across Berkshire could access a basic broadband service (defined as at least 2 Mbps) before the end of 2015. Earlier today, Superfast Berkshire (in conjunction with BDUK) launched a satellite broadband subsidy scheme where eligible premises could apply for a voucher to offset some of the installation costs of a satellite solution.

To find out more about the satellite scheme, check to see if you meet the eligible criteria and whether it could provide a temporary solution to your current poor broadband speeds click on the link - Berkshire Satelite Broadband Scheme

 

18th December 2015 - First customers live on new ultrafast Gigaclear FTTP network

 

Gigaclear's new ultrafast FTTP network is now up and running on the outskirts of Hungerford with Cobbs Farm Shop and Larence Hiscock being first off the blocks to take advantage of the high speed broadband services in time for Christmas. A Icon for pdf Press Release [427.93KB] was issued to acknowledge the initial 'Go live' as work continues with the expansion of the new fibre network to the surrounding communities in the New Year.

 

16th December 2015 - Conclusion of BT delivery under Phase 1 contract

 

BT are concluding the delivery under our phase 1 contract with 121 cabinets now live and one more due to go live in Green Park, Reading imminently. This has brought broadband improvement to over 24, 000 properties across Berkshire taking the overall superfast coverage to more than 92%. You can still check the full list of Icon for pdf target cabinets [35.66KB] that have been upgraded and how this affects you on the BT Broadband Checker. However the work does not stop there, with the contractual verification of individual properties, monitoring of take-up by residents and businesses, reconciliation of 'eligible costs' and payment of claims still to complete over the next 3 months. Funding can be 'released' from the Phase 1 contract if we a) underspend on the deployment, b) exceed the original anticipated take-up of 20% and c) spend less on the provision of basic broadband due to improvements already delivered or planned. We are currently trying to estimate the level of potential 'funding release' and how we might use this to expand superfast coverage in the remaining areas still with poor speeds.

 

5th November 2015 - Gigaclear start building FTTP Ultrafast network in West Berkshire

 

Icon for pdf Press Release [164.6KB] was issued to mark the start of work on the construction of Gigaclear's new ultrafast network by local sub-contractor MKJ in Eddington, Hungerford.

 

15th October 2015 - Gigaclear scope in West Berkshire

 

We have now completed the initiation of the Gigaclear phase 2 project and they have started detailed planning and preparations for the first area that will be covered by their new ultrafast fibre network. Superfast Berkshire has been analysing all properties across West Berkshire to identify those that can be covered by Gigaclear and those that are or plan to be covered by another broadband operator. Not only is this critical to the planning of Gigaclear's network but also key to ensure we remain compliant with the use of public funding under State Aid rules. Although this analysis is still under review, details of properties that are planned to be covered, a high level rollout schedule and further information about Gigaclear's product offering can be found at www.gigaclear.com/superfastberkshire.

 

12th August 2015 - Update on Phase 1 delivery

 

There have been two recent announcements by the Government (BDUK) on the progress under phase 1 projects across the UK. Early today the Government (BDUK) announced that local projects had reached the milestone of providing superfast broadband to in excess of £3m premises across the UK. This has been supported with our own Superfast Berkshire Icon for pdf Press Release [114.97KB] with corresponding statements issued by the 6 Berkshire districts to follow. As you can see form the numbers above, we are now at 98 cabinets providing fibre to over 19,000 premises.

On 30th July, BDUK announced that due to higher take-up rates of superfast broadband than expected, BT will now return up to £129m to the public purse (across the UK) to help rollout superfast speeds even further. This arises from a clause in our contract where take up exceeds the original estimate of 20%. Good news for Berkshire as not only are we above the threshold but consistently above the UK average of all superfast projects. The amount of savings are not yet known but funds will be used to further expand superfast coverage in areas not currently covered under Phase 1 or Phase 2. Further information will be published on the project website when details have been fully worked through.

 

3rd July 2015 - Phase 2 Contract Announcement

 

Superfast Berkshire are delighted to announce that contracts have been awarded to extend superfast coverage in the districts of West Berkshire and Windsor & Maidenhead. Gigaclear will deploy a Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) solution to more than 11,700 premises and take the superfast coverage to in excess of 99% before the end of 2017. Call Flow Solutions will provide a Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) solution to more than 1,750 premises in parts of the the Royal borough by mid 2016. A Icon for pdf Press Release [158.7KB] was issued after an event held in Newbury earlier this afternoon.

Additional bids were also received from Call Flow Solutions for Reading and Wokingham and it is hoped that contracts will be signed later this year. Further information on the Phase 2 deployments will be available on the project website shortly.

 

14th May 2015 - Phase 2 Procurement

 

Following the issue of our ITT in February seeking solutions to further expand superfast broadband, we have now received bids from a number of suppliers and are evaluating proposals. This process will continue over the next 6 weeks and hopefully conclude with the award of contract(s) at the end of June. We anticipate providing more details on the outcome of this OJEU procurement at the beginning of July.

 

14th May 2015 - Update to Phase 1 cabinet schedule

 

After a burst of activity at the end of March, BT and the SFB project team have run into a number of issues with the planned activity which has taken some time to resolve. We now have more traction on these issues and are trying accelerate deployment activity for the remaining cabinets where we can.

 

2nd April 2015 - 15 new cabinets go live in the last 7 days

 

Openreach have been working hard on extending their fibre infrastructure during this quarter and we are now seeing the fruits of their labour coming through. Over the last 7 days Berkshire has 16 new fibre cabinets upgraded, serving almost 3,000 new premises. Although Openreach are still behind the original planned target for 31st March, all efforts are being made to catch up and get us back on track.

 

4th March 2015 - Virgin Media broadband funding

 

As you may be aware, Virgin Media recently announced a landmark investment in broadband infrastructure of £3bn. In discussions with BDUK, Virgin Media have stated that they are looking to allocate this money on the basis of demand for services. It is therefore recommend that any area or community wishing to benefit from this investment registers their interest directly with Virgin Media at the following website address:

Cable my Street

 

26th February 2015 - Phase 1 Delivery

 

Superfast Berkshire has passed two significant milestone with 3 further cabinets going live this week. The project has now upgraded 50 cabinets serving in excess of 10,000 premises across Berkshire.

 

13th February 2015 - Phase 2 procurement

 

In December, Superfast Berkshire published an OJEU Contract Notice and on the 9th February 2015 invited 6 successful suppliers to respond to its Invitation to Tender under a restricted procurement process. We now have to wait until May for supplier to submit their bids before an evaluation of their proposals can take place and conclude with the award of contract(s) in June. Under this procurement, the Project is seeking to expand superfast broadband to in excess of 95% coverage in each of the 6 Berkshire district by the end of 2017.

 

13th February 2015 - Revised cabinet forecast

 

It is fair to say that progress is currently a little behind schedule due to a number of technical issues that Openreach have been trying to resolve since before Christmas. However, after the 'small surge' at the end of the year, Openreach have been focusing on delivery of the fibre spine to various parts of the county (completing around 70 km in the last 6 weeks). This has put them in much better shape to bring the schedule back on track by the end of March, a target they are committed to deliver. This should see a further 45 cabinets go live and bring the number of Total Homes Passed to around 17,000 under the Superfast Berkshire project. An update to the cabinets listed as 'Survey & discussion still on-going' is expected in the next couple of weeks.

 

19th December 2014 - Revised cabinet forecast

 

There has been a significant amount of progress combined with a fair amount of frustration as we have hit a number of challenges in recent weeks with delivery of the next tranche of fibre cabinets. The next 4 weeks should see a further 18 cabinets go live across the county but unfortunately most of these will not come in time for Christmas despite our best efforts.

 

24th September 2014 - New Deployment maps published

 

As promised, a new map is now available showing the anticipated roll out of fibre-based infrastructure (Next Generation Access) to support superfast broadband by the end of 2017. It will allow you to see an estimate of when superfast broadband may be coming to your area. It should be noted that the current expected coverage will be subject to change over the lifetime of the project. Go to the Interactive Broadband Coverage Map to see an explanation of the information provided and points of consideration before viewing the map.

 

19th September 2014 - State Aid Public Consultation issued

 

Superfast Berkshire has issued a State Aid Public Consultation document outlining the potential Intervention Areas for superfast and basic broadband under Phase 2. This process enables the public and market operators to comment on the Intervention Area proposals and in particular, to provide an opportunity for broadband infrastructure providers to review the representation of their commercial plans and ensure these are correct.

 

8th September 2014 - Update on cabinets 'going live'

 

Superfast Berkshire now has 7 live cabinets able to accept orders for an upgrade to fibre broadband benefiting businesses and residents in Burghfield, Mortimer, Newbury, Theale and Tilehurst. There has been some recent movement in the expected delivery schedule (some accelerated, some delayed) with a further 18 cabinets expected to come on stream before the end of September across Bracknell, Windsor & Maidenhead, West Berkshire and Wokingham.

 

18th July 2014 - Open Market Review issued

 

Following the announcement of additional Berkshire funding under the BDUK Superfast Expansion Programme, an Open Market Review was sent to all broadband infrastructure providers to establish the latest view of existing and planned commercial broadband coverage across the county. This is the first step in the State Aid process and the details will be incorporated into the planned updates of the broadband coverage maps.

 

16th July 2014 - Superfast Berkshire first cabinet live

 

Superfast Berkshire has just implemented its first cabinets for the county, in Burghfield and Purley-on-Thames, with more to follow hot on their heels. Residents and businesses of Burghfield and the surrounding area are benefiting from the fibre upgrade of 8 cabinets during July from a combination of BT's commercial programme and Superfast Berkshire, reaching up to 2,700 premises. With the upgrade in Purley-on-Thames (96 premises) and 2 cabinets in Mortimer (1000 premises) also due to be completed before the end of the month, the project is now into its delivery stride. To mark this milestone in the project, an event was held in Burghfield Common involving dignitaries from West Berkshire Council, BT, members of the joint project team and the local communities. See West Berkshire Icon for pdf Press Release [481.9KB]  for further details.

Further details of the roll out coverage for the county will be published on the website shortly.

 

7th July 2014 - Superfast Broadband Expansion Funding

 

Berkshire received an indicative allocation of £3.56m from the Government's latest tranche of funding (£250m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017) which came with the usual requirement for local match funding. West Berkshire is providing £1.475m of match funding, Windsor & Maidenhead £163,750 and Reading £191,250. Wokingham are finalising their local discussions. Thames Valley Berkshire LEP have also agreed to contribute £560,000 from their EU funding. In total, Superfast Berkshire is expecting to have an additional investment pot of around £4.7m to further expand superfast broadband to more than 95% within each of these districts and to 97% across the county. Work is now under way on the legal formalities of state aid and the procurement of broadband solutions to deliver the anticipated improvements by December 2017. See local press statements for Icon for pdf West Berkshire [154.94KB]  and Icon for pdf Reading [5.81KB] .

 

27th May 2014 - April Update to Digital Champions

 

A more detailed updated was circulated to digital champions on recent project activity in Icon for pdf April 2014 [117.07KB]

 

14th April 2014 - Additional funding for Rural Communities

 

An application for £0.55m of BDUK funding has been approved and will bring superfast broadband to 9 communities that originally missed out under the initial Superfast Berkshire allocation. This was a competitive process across the UK but the efforts of community representatives have been well rewarded. Whilst still subject to contractual discussions with BT, the funding is expected to benefit a further 3,300 West Berkshire residential and business premises delivered by September 2015. Further details can be found in the Icon for pdf Press Release [200.03KB]  and

 

25th February 2014 - Superfast Extension Programme

 

BDUK announced the long awaited indicative allocations from the £250m of government funding that has been promised for the expansion of superfast broadband. This is aimed at the hardest to reach rural areas across the UK with Berkshire picking up £3.56m as Superfast Berkshire strives to expand coverage to 95% of the county by 2017. We now need to establish the level of district appetite for broadband improvement and our collective ability to provide match funding from local public money in order to access the grant.

 

24th February 2014 - RCBF application submitted

 

An application for £0.55m of funding under the Rural Communities Broadband Fund (RCBF) was submitted to DEFRA/BDUK on behalf of 9 Berkshire parish communities. The outcome of all remaining RCBF applications (across the UK) will be known by the end of March. This could potentially provide a further 3,300 Berkshire residents and businesses with access to a fibre based broadband solution.

 

10th December 2013 - RCBF Public Consultation Launched

 

The Berkshire Rural Communities Broadband Fund (RCBF) project launched its on 10th December 2013 to seek the views of residents, communities, businesses and broadband providers regarding the intervention area served by the project.

Superfast Berkshire continues to make good progress during the mobilisation and planning phase of the project in preparation for BT Openreach surveys starting at the beginning of 2014.

 

4th October 2013

 

We have now concluded our evaluation and clarification of the bid response from BT who were the only supplier that responded to our tender. The proposed coverage, supplier investment and timescales were approved by our Project Board / BDUK and we are pleased to announce that contracts have now been agreed. A high level summary of the bid can be found on the Icon for pdf Press Release [235.19KB] , details of the anticipated coverage can be seen under the coverage page. Now that we have agreed contracts the hard work starts, beginning with a joint mobilisation phase, surveys and network design.

 

22nd August 2013

 

We have now received a bid response to our tender from BT and are busy evaluating & clarifying the content of their proposal. We anticipate this activity and subsequent reviews by our Project Board / BDUK will be completed by the end of September when we will provide a further, more detailed update.

 

5th July 2013 - National Audit Office

 

The Icon for pdf NAO Report [434.17KB]  on the Rural Broadband programme was published on Friday together with a Icon for pdf BDUK Press Release [79.02KB]  Neither contained any significant surprises or aspects that were not already being addressed where possible by the project at a local level.

 

26th June 2013 - Additional Funding for Berkshire

 

Following some effective lobbying at various political levels, BDUK have agreed to increase the government grant for Berkshire £1.43m to £2.03m. This additional funding has been matched by £300k each from Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Berkshire unitary councils bringing the combined public sector investment to more than £4m.

With greater capital funding, we can anticipate further expansion of superfast broadband across the county.

Due to this significant injection of capital, it has been necessary to re-start the Invitation to Tender (ITT) causing a short delay. We now expected to be in a position to award a contract to the chosen supplier by the end of September.

 

10th May 2013 - Update to Digital Champions

 

A more Icon for pdf detailed update [348.05KB]  circulated to digital champions on recent project activity.

 

25th April 2013 - ITT Issued

 

Further details of the ** which completed on the 28th March 2013 can be found under the Consultation button. This has enabled us to make some minor amendments to the 'intervention area' (the white areas which define the scope of this project) and successfully submit the first part of our formal application for State aid. Over the last two months, we have conducted various detailed contractual discussions with the approved suppliers resulting in the issue of our formal Invitation to Tender (ITT) to Fujitsu and BT Openreach on 22nd April. The project remains firmly on track and we await the receipt of their bids at the end of June 2013

 

28th February 2013 - Public Consultation Launched

 

The Superfast Berkshire project launched its Icon for pdf state aid public consultation [2.66MB] state aid public consultation on 27th February 2013 to seek the views of residents, communities business and broadband providers regarding the intervention area served by the project. On the Icon for pdf Superfast Broadband [2.78MB] and Icon for pdf Basic Broadband [2.8MB] maps, the black and grey areas shows the extent of private sector coverage within the next 3 years. The 'white areas' show the scope of where this project is permitted to invest under the rules of state aid.

 

February 2013 - Broadband 'Intervention Area' Defined

 

Following responses from key broadband providers as part of the Open Market Review (OMR) process we are now clear on which areas of Berkshire we will be targeting for improvement within our programme. This 'intervention area' will be made available publicly when the formal Public Consultation begins at the end of February 2013.

 

14th January 2013 - Procurement Phase Re-entered

 

Following an enforced 7 week delay Berkshire re-entered BDUK's broadband procurement pipeline on 14th January 2013. This marks the start of a 28-week process which is expected to result in a broadband improvement contract being signed with a broadband supplier by the end of July 2013 to roll out the improvements by 2015. More pdf icon detailed update [342kb] Icon for pdf detailed update [342.69KB]  sent to Digital Champions.

 

November 2012 - Procurement Phase Entered

 

The Superfast Berkshire Broadband Project formally entered the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) procurement phase on 19th November, where suppliers will be invited to tender for the upgrades across Berkshire. This process will run until June 2013 when a contract will be awarded to the successful bidder

 

October 2012 - Digital Champions Required

 

West Berkshire currently have 38 Champions, Wokingham 2 and Windsor & Maidenhead 3, driving the signup campaign forward. There are still vacancies in 57 parishes across Berkshire.

Do you have the time and the energy to drive your parish or village into showing you demand Superfast Broadband? Flyers and posters, training and assistance are provided free and if interested please email Projectteam@superfastberkshire.org.uk

 

September 2012 - Digital Champions Required

 

West Berkshire currently have 32 Champions, Wokingham 2 and Windsor & Maidenhead 3, driving the signup campaign forward. There are still vacancies in 60 parishes across Berkshire.

Do you have the time and the energy to drive your parish or village into showing you demand Superfast Broadband? Flyers and posters, training and assistance are provided free and if interested please email Projectteam@superfastberkshire.org.uk

 

August 2012 - Interactive Map Launched

 

To allow communities to see how their efforts to get people to sign up for improved broadband we are pleased to announce that an interactive map of registrations is now available on this site.

By demonstrating that there is a demand for broadband Berkshire is more likely to attract more than 1 bidder when it goes to market to tender for improved broadband. It is hoped that high demand registration figures will encourage bidders to invest more of their own money into the project.

 

July 2012 - Berkshire's Local Broadband Community Event

 

An event was held by West Berkshire Council in its Market Street, Newbury Council Chamber. The event was attended by more than 40 people from parishes across West Berkshire who were keen to learn about the Superfast Berkshire Project. The event was also attended by the Rt Hon Richard Benyon MP who re-stated his commitment to the success of this project.

During the evening 20 'Digital Champions' were recruited, volunteering to spread the word about the project in their own communities and to get those who are keen to see their broadband improved to register at www.superfastberkshire.org.uk/register

 

May 2012 - Berkshire's Local Broadband Plan Approved

On 22nd May 2012 West Berkshire Council, the lead authority for Superfast Berkshire received official confirmation that Berkshire's Local Broadband Plan has been approved. This confirms that Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) will, at the appropriate time, provide Berkshire with £1.43million of Government funding to help improve Berkshire's superfast and standard broadband networks. This when combined with £1.43million of funding from the 6 Berkshire Councils will allow us to engage with broadband providers to procure a suitable broadband solution for Berkshire.

We have appointed a project manager to co-ordinate the next phase of this exciting project and our target is to have a signed contract in place with a broadband supplier by the end of 2012.