Rural Community Broadband Fund
The Rural Community Broadband Fund (RCBF) was launched in England with confirmed funding of £20m on 29th November 2011.
A second ‘Expression of Interest’ round is now open. The final date for submissions of ‘Expressions of Interest’ is 6th July 2012.
The RCBF is jointly funded by Defra and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and provides grants to communities to establish superfast broadband in “hard-to-reach” areas.
The RCBF complements the mainstream broadband rollout programmes being delivered by local Authorities and BDUK. Under the mainstream programme, the aim is for at least 90% superfast broadband coverage in each area, with the final “hard to reach” 10% receiving a minimum standard broadband of 2Mbps.
The RCBF aims to enable communities within these remaining 10% “hard to reach” areas to establish Superfast Broadband services – over and above the basic 2Mbps service – where they can demonstrate local need/demand, and the capacity to make it happen at reasonable cost.
- In order to be able to apply to the fund you must be able to demonstrate that your community is identified as being in the 10-15% hard to reach in your Local Broadband Plan.
- Applications to the Fund require an accompanying data-book (Excel 54kb) to help demonstrate an initial viability (i.e. local need and demand for superfast broadband) for the proposed project and to formally describe the geographical coverage.
- BDUK is in the process of developing a comprehensive community broadband toolkit (PDF 174kb) to help applicants access best practice and gain a wider understanding of smaller scale broadband programmes.
- You should work with your Local Authority to establish how your proposed solution fits with the wider network developments across your area. Contact details below.
- For full details of how to apply to the fund, the ‘Expression of Interest’ form and to access the toolkit go to http://rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk/funding-sources/rural-community-broadband-fund .
- The RCBF is delivered as part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). If you are considering an ‘Expression of Interest’ for the next round and need some advice, please contact your Local RDPE Delivery Team – Mike Johns email@example.com or 01392 268906.
Where is the 10% hard to reach in Devon and Somerset LBP?
As detailed elsewhere on this site Connecting Devon and Somerset has set a target of a minimum of 85% of all premises to be able to access superfast broadband by 2015, with a further target of 100% by 2020. Those premises not in the 85% will have a minimum of 2Mbps but we will be striving to achieve far higher than this for them.
Connecting Devon and Somerset are going through procurement processes to appoint a supplier to roll out the infrastructure. This process will conclude in Autumn/Winter 2012. Our “10-15%” will only be known following negotiations with the suppliers through the procurement process. This means that we will not know which areas are in the 10-15% “hard to reach” until Autumn/Winter 2012. We understand that this is frustrating but unfortunately with the scale and complexity of the procurement we are unable to speed this up. Discussions have been held with BDUK and DEFRA and they are aware of our timetable.
Where can I get further support in Devon and Somerset LBP area?
Please contact the organisations below. They will be able to give you some limited support and guidance around your Expression of Interest.
Community Council of Devon
Peter Harding – 01392 248919 firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Council for Somerset
Katherine Armstrong – 01823 331222 email@example.com
West of England Rural Network (North Somerset)
Chris Head – 01275 333701 firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there further Information available?
The RCBF guidance notes provide links to a number of website that applicants need to use in order to complete their data book and build a strong case.
Further links applicants may like to use regarding information on local statistics and evidence as well as guidance on technical issues are below:
- http://inform.sine.org.uk/ – Somerset statistics and information
- http://www.indevon.org.uk/web/ -Devon statistics and information
- http://www.swo.org.uk/welcome/ – Southwest statistics and information
- http://www.beyondbroadband.coop/ – technical information and guidance on broadband
- http://www.communityshares.uk.coop/ – information on raising finance by community share issue
- http://bit.ly/rtRL6E – Somerset Economic Assessment
- http://www.devon.gov.uk/devel/index/economyenterprise/devonomics.htm?nocache=543 – Devon Economic Assessment
- www.westofengland.org/research–statistics/economy- North Somerset Economic Assessment
To find out more and discuss these issues further please contact:
Mike Atkinson, Economic Development Officer.
Tel: 01823 355611
Mob: 0787 966 8736