Procurement begins on Project Gigabit’s Cross Regional Contracts


Procurement for Type C contracts launched on 27th July, with two contracts currently on offer 

Building Digital UK (BDUK) – the government’s executive agency set up to deliver the £5 billion Project Gigabit has begun the procurement phase for the award for the first Cross-Regional Supplier Framework contracts.  

Project Gigabit aims to deliver download speeds of 1Gbps to at least 85% of the UK by 2025, and 99% by 2030.  

Currently, around 76% of UK premises can access gigabit-capable broadband, though this total falls to 53% when considering purely fibre-to-the-premises. 

According to Ofcom forecasts, gigabit coverage is currently on track to reach 92% by March 2025. 

So far, however, the vast majority of this gigabit-broadband availability has been funded by the private sector, with the first Project Gigabit contracts only being awarded last year. 

To date, most of the Project’s funding has been allocated to the Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy programme. Here, network operators bid to extend their gigabit broadband networks to harder-to-reach areas across the UK through a Dynamic Purchasing System. Roughly £1.4 billion has been allocated in the form of local (Type A) contracts and regional (Type B) contracts. 

Now, BDUK is set to begin the procurement phase for the award of two cross-regional (Type C) contracts for the first time. This process aims to find a single ISP partner to provide access to economically unviable areas not already covered commercially or by Type A or Type C subsidies.  

The two contracts in this case are covering 57,500 premises across parts of Lancashire, North Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire, West and Mid-Surrey, Staffordshire, West Berkshire, and Hertfordshire, and 47,700 premises across parts of West and North Devon, North West and Mid Wales, and South East Wales. 

These contracts are set to receive subsidies of £149.7 million and £139.7 million, respectively. 

The procurements are open for interest until 27th August this year, and all being well, the first Cross-Regional Supplier Framework contracts should be awarded around June 2024. 

In related news, it is worth noting here that the slow progress of Project Gigabit has not gone unnoticed by the government. Just last week, it was announced that Dan Creamer has been appointed as the new CEO of BDUK, replacing Paul Norris who had faced criticism over the Project’s lack of results.  

Want to hear more from the operators and their role in building Gigabit Britain? Join the operator in discussion at the upcoming Connected Britain conference 

Also in the news:
CityFibre wins trio of Project Gigabit contracts worth £318m
GoFibre embraces the ethos of Project Gigabit
Openreach: The full fibre take-up challenge and building networks of the future 

Recent Posts