Computing.co.uk have spotted that the government have put out a tender for suppliers to operate under Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the body which will act as the delivery vehicle for projects granted funding from government for broadband projects around the UK. BDUK is looking to form a framework agreement of around 12 qualified suppliers who will be capable of delivering local broadband projects to local authorities which might be at the sub-county, county, multi-county or regional level.
Suppliers will need to be able to design, build, implement, and operate open-access wholesale broadband networks that meet "outcome-based specifications" rather than being fixed to specific technologies or platforms. Suppliers will need to have the capability of delivering at least one local project as defined in a pre-qualification questionnaire which has not yet been published. This would probably mean that smaller operators would be able to bid as well as the likes of BT, or the mobile networks, although with a limited number of companies being looked for, those that can offer more solutions may well fare better. The tender also states there will be scope for some projects to be completed outside of the framework.
So far, under the BDUK process, around £100m has been allocation with £530m of government money promised within this parliament, stretching to £830m by 2017. The government tender expects the framework to cover projects with a total value of between £750m and £2bn with a split of funding between public sector subsidy and private sector investment.