Bids invited for Phase 2b of the Connecting Shropshire broadband programme

November 14, 2016

Moves to bring superfast broadband to even more people in the county have been announced by Shropshire Council.

The authority is inviting bids from telecoms suppliers for the third phase of a major project to boost connectivity for residents and businesses.
Known as Phase 2b of the Connecting Shropshire broadband programme, the initiative is designed to bring fast connections in areas where no commercial provision is currently in place or planned.
Shropshire Council has already invested £9m through two separate contracts (Phases 1 and 2a).
Phase 2b aims to extend superfast broadband coverage to a further 16,015 premises in the Shropshire Council area using £11.7m public funding secured through funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Broadband Delivery UK) and the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.
Whilst Phase 1 is completing this winter, Phase 2a has already commenced with planning work which will deliver to an additional 4,000 premises by winter 2017.
Bids are now being invited from specialist telecoms suppliers to plan, design, build, operate and maintain high-performance broadband networks, referred to as Next Generation Access (NGA). All solutions must be capable of supporting download speeds of over 30mbps and must offer competition and choice to broadband customers.
Steve Charmley, Deputy Leader of Shropshire Council and member responsible for broadband, said: “As we near the end of Phase 1, we’ve already provided over 55,000 homes and businesses with access to better broadband. At the same time as gearing up to deliver our Phase 2, I’m thrilled to be starting the procurement for the next phase of work. We’re eager to close all of our gaps and particularly want solutions that prioritise coverage for premises on the slowest speeds.”
Graham Wynn, Chairman of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Fast data connections are crucial for residents and businesses now, whoever and wherever they are. It’s important to note that, as part of this procurement, bidders are asked to offer network solutions that prioritise premises registered for business rates. Superfast broadband enables businesses to function more efficiently, increases their profitability and provides access to new markets. Our businesses have identified lack of connectivity as a barrier to growth so we are very pleased to be able to contribute Local Growth Funding to this latest push for better broadband speeds. We look forward to work getting under way.”
Telecoms suppliers have until 30 January 2017 to prepare and submit their bids. Shropshire Council expects to award contract(s) in March 2017.
The procurement excludes additional funding that Shropshire Council is expecting to receive as part of its Phase 1 contract. Where customers choose to take-up fibre broadband once it is available, the Council receives ‘clawback’ that is estimated at £2.2m to date. This money will remain ring-fenced for further broadband investment.

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

For any finance queries please contact:

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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