Project Gigabit summer update: significant progress made by industry

A summer update to Project Gigabit was announced today, with DCMS outlining future investment and rollout plans for 26 counties including Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Kent.

Following the publication of the Project Gigabit Phase One Delivery Plan in March 2021, this update to the Plan sets out a proposed procurement pipeline for Phases 1 and 2 with modelled premises numbers.  

DCMS rightly acknowledges the significant progress made by the telecoms industry who have committed to increase their commercial investment. This progress made across all areas of the UK since March underlines the confidence investors have in UK infrastructure investment. 

Operators such as CityFibre (8-10 million premise connections), Openreach (25 million by the end of 2026)—as well as Gigaclear and Hyperoptic and new joint venture Virgin Media O2—have set out their commitment to meeting government’s targets: the market is on track to deliver gigabit-capable networks to at least 80% of UK premises by December 2025. 

What these commitments mean is that the need for government-industry collaboration and dialogue is more important than ever: DCMS recognises the onus on them to understand and challenge industry plans so it uses public funding to best effect.  

The update to Project Gigabit also provides a progress-check on DCMS preparations for Local Supplier and Regional Supplier procurements. The smaller Local Supplier procurements have moved forward: DCMS launched the Dynamic Purchasing System on 4 May 2021 and over 70 telecoms providers have registered their interest. This is an important milestone and means DCMS is ready to start the first competitions as soon as intervention areas are shaped following Public Review. 

DCMS categorised all Regional Supplier procurement lots in England into Phase 1, Phase 2 and Future Phases in the March publication. The Department has now set out an initial schedule of proposed procurement dates and contract award dates for each Lot in the first two Phases. 

Regional Supplier Procurements - Phase 1a

Phase 1a Procurement start date Contract commencement date Modelled number of uncommercial premises in the procurement area Indicative contract value
Essex October 2021 May 2022 6,500 TBC (Intervention area being defined)
Dorset (2 lots) November 2021 June 2022 10,000 TBC (Intervention area being defined)
Cumbria (Lot 28) September 2021 August 2022 66,300 £60m - £102m
Cambridgeshire and adjacent areas (Lot 5) October 2021 June 2022 98,500 £95m - £161m
Durham, Tyneside and Teesside areas (Lot 4) November 2021 October 2022 83,100 £79m - £135m
Northumberland (Lot 34)) November 2021 October 2022 26,600 £24m - £40m
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (Lot 32) February 2022 January 2023 57,900 £54m - £93m

Regional Supplier Procurements - Phase 1b

Phase 1b Procurement start date Contract commencement date Modelled number of uncommercial premises in the procurement area Indicative contract value
Shropshire (Lot 25) February 2022 January 2023 66,700 £61m - £104m
Norfolk (Lot 7) February 2022 January 2023 118,700 £115m - £195m
Suffolk (Lot 2) February 2022 January 2023 92,000 £89m - £151m
Hampshire and Isle of Wight (Lot 27) February 2022 January 2023 150,900 £148m - £251m
Worcestershire (Lot 24) May 2022 April 2023 51,400 £50m - £84m

Regional Supplier Procurements - Phase 2

Phase 2 Procurement start date Contract commencement date Modelled number of uncommercial premises in the procurement area Indicative contract value
Oxfordshire and West Berkshire (Lot 13) May 2022 April 2023 68,600 £67m - £114m
Kent (Lot 29) May 2022 April 2023 122,300 £119m - £203m
Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and East of Berkshire (Lot 26) May 2022 April 2023 142,000 £140m - £237m
Staffordshire (Lot 19) May 2022 April 2023 76,300 £72m - £123m
West Sussex (Lot 1) May 2022 April 2023 67,800 £66m - £112m
East Sussex (Lot 16) August 2022 July 2023 50,300 £49m - £83m
Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes (Lot 12) August 2022 July 2023 87,500 £85m - £144m
Derbyshire (Lot 3) August 2022 July 2023 67,300 £64m - £110m
Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire and Swindon (Lot 30) August 2022 July 2023 88,000 £85m - £145m
Lancashire (Lot 9) August 2022 July 2023 92,200 £90m - £153m
Surrey (Lot 22) August 2022 July 2023 101,900 £101m - £171m
Leicestershire and Warwickshire (Lot 11) November 2022 October 2023 118,400 £114m - £194m
Nottinghamshire and West of Lincolnshire (Lot 10) November 2022 October 2023 93,000 £90m - £152m
West Yorkshire and parts of North Yorkshire (Lot 8) November 2022 October 2023 133,100 £128m - £218m
South Yorkshire (Lot 20) November 2022 October 2023 62,400 £61m - £103m

Regional Supplier Procurements - Additional information

  • Contract commencement date: The expected start date of the new commercial activity with engineers on site.
  • Number of premises: The number of premises in scope of the procurement and expected to be uncommercial and require public funding – either as modelled by DCMS or as superseded following Public Review and Pre-Procurement Market Engagement. This value may change significantly leading up to commencement of the procurement process
  • Indicative contract value: Low - An indicative lower bound on the expected contract value - determined by applying a relatively low average subsidy per premises passed to the number of premises expected to be in scope and affordable. High - An indicative upper bound on the expected contract value - determined by applying a relatively high average subsidy per premises passed to the number of premises expected to be in scope and affordable

Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme: top-ups

The areas with top-ups to the voucher scheme are included in the table below.

  Residential Voucher Top-Up Amount Max. Residential Voucher (inclusive of any VAT) SME Voucher Top-Up Amount Max. SME Voucher (exclusive of any VAT which the vouchers cannot fund) Current available speed must be less than
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme   £1,500   £3,500 100 Mbps
Scotland £5,000 £6,500 £5,000 £8,500 30 Mbps
Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme £1,500 £3,000 £3,500 £7,000 30 Mbps
English Counties          
Borderlands -Cumbria & Northumberland £1,500 £3,000 £3,500 £7,000 30 Mbps
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough £1,500 £3,000 £1,500 £5,000 30 Mbps
County Durham £1,500 £3,000 £3,500 £7,000 30 Mbps
Derbyshire £1,500 £3,000 £3,500 £7,000 100 Mbps
Dorset £1,000 £2,500 £2,500 £6,000 100 Mbps
East Riding of Yorkshire £1,500 £3,000 £3,500 £7,000 30 Mbps
East Sussex £1,000 £2,500 £1,000 £4,500 30 Mbps
Kent £1,000 £2,500 - £3,500 30 Mbps
Nottinghamshire £1,500 £3,000 £3,500 £7,000 30 Mbps
Oxfordshire £5,500 £7,000 £3,500 £7,000 100 Mbps
Shropshire £2,500 £4,000 £3,500 £7,000 30 Mbps
Warwickshire £2,500 £4,000 £500 £4,000 30 Mbps
West Sussex £2,500 £4,000 £500 £4,000 100 Mbps
Worcestershire £1,500 £3,000 £3,500 £7,000 30 Mbps

For further details on Regional Supplier Contract Development, Prioritisation of Premises, and how DCMS is working to deliver gigabit across the Union, read the full update here

Barrier-busting and local partnerships 

It was positive to see DCMS recognise the need to work with local authority teams—with their significant local knowledge and record of hard work in maximising digital infrastructure opportunities—in delivering Project Gigabit.  

The update outlined how, in areas where Regional Supplier procurements are some way off, or there are gaps in broad commercial plans provide immediate opportunities for local teams, the focus will expand to efforts to bust barriers for telecoms companies in local areas, as well as utilise the Local Supplier procurements, Gigahubs and the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to deliver gigabit to priority communities in a relatively short timescale. 

Work by local authorities can help too: stimulating demand through top-up schemes, increasing their understanding of telecoms providers operating in their area, and building a clear picture of infrastructure that could be used to decrease the cost of rollout. As such, programmes like the Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator will be useful and welcome.  

The gigabit target calls for this collaborative and fluid approach, underscoring the complexity across the UK of deploying gigabit speeds to all. techUK looks forward to working with our members, local and central government stakeholders to ensure that the support is there for the telecoms industry to continue its accelerated pace of rollout, to the benefit of consumers and businesses in the biggest cities and smallest hamlets across the UK.  

Sophie James

Sophie James

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Manuel R. Marti

Manuel R. Marti

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Julia Ofori-Addo

Julia Ofori-Addo

Programme Assistant, BSG, Central Government, Financial Services Team, Comms Infrastructure, techUK