Month: April 2017

Follow-up to Consultation into Faster Broadband Coverage

Our Digital 2020 Consultation has now closed and we are now planning for our procurement.

The Connecting Cheshire Partnership intends to conduct an open procurement via OJEU for further coverage of Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband infrastructure (capable of delivering download speeds of at least 30 Mbps) in areas within its Programme Area where such broadband is currently unavailable. These areas, known as “white NGA” comprise around 26,000 premises, which have  speeds of  <24 Mbps and are in scope of the procurement (note these are subject to refinement as a result of Public Consultation Responses).

The contract will have an initial value of £5.08m with the potential to rise by a further £5m to £10.08m, subject to the Connecting Cheshire team being able to secure further funding. At this stage, we are planning to run the procurement as a single lot, but would welcome any feedback on this approach by  25th April 2017 by contacting us via info@connectingcheshire.org.uk .

The timescales for the procurement are as follows: –

Open Market Review and State Aid Consultation              (completed) Nov-16 – Mar-17

Tender specification and contract design Mar – Apr-17

OJEU invitation to tender out with suppliers May – Jul-17

Tenders return Jul-17

Tender evaluation, clarification questions and supplier evaluation Aug-17

Preferred supplier status awarded and standstill               Aug-17

Final BDUK assurance, State aid approval, grant agreement signed Sep-17

Contract signature with supplier               Sep-17

Contract mobilisation     Sep – Oct-17

Contract completion* Oct-19

Anticipated contract closure* Mar-20

* These dates will be subject to final bid responses but potential bidders should note that Completion and Final Payment Dates are stipulated by our funders and these requirements will need to factored into bid responses.

Further information will be made available via our website and on OJEU in due course. If you have any further queries please contact us at the above email address.

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Connecting Cheshire to trial cabinets with AI

 Connecting Cheshire are set to trial roadside fibre broadband cabinets with Artificial Intelligence that can talk to passers by and inform on a range of questions such as postcode coverage, fibre capacity and if any potential faults are impacting on performance.

This ground-breaking technology is believed to be the first of its kind, following hot on the heels of Amazon and Google’s  home ‘virtual assistants’.

The boffins at Connecting Cheshire are also on the look out for someone to be the voice of the cabinets with a perfect Cheshire accent. Anyone wishing to audition for the role should contact the project team via Twitter @SFB_Cheshire.

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