At the outset of each stage of the project, the County Council is required to determine where public investment is needed to bring forward superfast broadband. These are the areas of market failure where there are no apparent commercial plans to deliver telecoms networks over which superfast broadband services could be provided. The County Council determines these through a process known as an Open Market Review (OMR).
Through the OMR, the County Council consults telecoms providers to find out where they already have network and where they are planning to serve in the next three years looking ahead. This involves the analysis of a huge amount of data. This is because there are over 319,600 premises and over 16,000 postcodes in the county as well as quite a few different telecoms providers and not all will use the same baseline data. This data is reconciled and brought together into a single postcode or premise level data set for the county, setting out where commercial plans are expected. The outcome of the OMR is captured on State Aid Intervention Area maps for both basic broadband (above 2Mbps) and Next Generation Access (NGA) coverage (providing for speeds above 30Mbps). You can find out more about NGA in the FAQs here.
The State Aid Intervention Area maps show where there is or is expected to be commercial coverage (shown in grey or black) and areas still in need i.e. where there are no known commercial plans – these are the white areas which represent the proposed Intervention Area for public investment. The Intervention Area maps are consulted on through a State Aid Public Consultation.
On conclusion of this consultation, the County Council has to make any adjustments required to the mapping following any responses received, as appropriate. The maps and the methodology are then reported to the National Competence Centre (managed by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)) to notify them of the intention to invest public funding in the Intervention Area and to secure clearance for this 'State aid'. You can find out more about the Intervention Area for Stage 3 and view the map on the State Aid Public Consultation page.
This process has been followed in 2012, 2014 and 2015/16 for the purpose of Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the project.