Saturday, January 15, 2011


In the Economic Renewal Programme document, it was suggested that 

"all businesses in Wales will have access to next generation broadband by the middle of 2016, and that all households will be enabled by 2020. This is ahead of the EU’s target of ensuring that all of the EU population can access 30Mbps broadband by 2020 with over half able to benefit from speeds of 100Mbps by this date. We need a full procurement exercise and State Aid approval to achieve this aim. The next steps are to engage quickly with the market during summer and autumn 2010 and then to commence a full procurement exercise by spring 2011".

Yet at least one business is ahead of the game when it comes to getting this multi-million pound procurement contract. 

According to the Daily Post on Wednesday, the Director of BT Wales allegedly suggests that BT is already in talks with the Welsh Assembly Government over its procurement plans, which will result in all of Wales having access to high speed broadband technologies by around 2015.

In fact, the article seems to suggest that a deal is already on the table with regard to the broadband rollout:

"The WAG has put in £50m and we have put in £78m to do this, as it’s a wholesale deployment...The technology is available on wholesale basis to any provider wanting to offer that product, not just BT. It’s up to the WAG how quickly this all happens in Wales but it is doable by 2015.”

Of course, BT may just be "pushing the envelope" when it comes to trying to secure the contract (and who can blame them). 

However, unless this has been misreported, it suggests that WAG is already in discussions with one potential contractor before the procurement exercise has started.

Personally speaking, I believe that WAG, through the European Structural Fund programme, could have done a deal with BT over broadband years ago, as as happened in Cornwall.

Yet I can only wonder what other potential contractors will feel about this, especially as businesses are being urged "to attend an event to learn about the Welsh Assembly Government's plans to procure a first class, globally competitive next generation broadband network for Wales" on March 26th at Cardiff City Stadium?

Deal done?