Why should you attend?
We are now in a position to engage with suppliers to share our vision for the Digital 2020 Programme, which, with a budget of over £11m, will enable us to further improve the quality, speed and reach of digital infrastructure and boost the use of digital technology by businesses in the Cheshire and Warrington LEP Area. This event will explain how we are planning to run the procurement for Digital 2020 and provide an overview of the programme’s aims and objectives.
Digital 2020 will strengthen Cheshire’s competitive potential, help develop new products and services, and ensure businesses exploit e-commerce opportunities to access new markets. The programme has three complementary strands designed to make a significant contribution to European, national and local targets for NGA broadband connectivity and business application:
• Not Spots: extending superfast broadband to under-served areas
• Connection Vouchers: helping businesses access and exploit ultrafast broadband
• Digital Business Support: advice and guidance to secure digital-led business growth
The not spots intervention builds on two previous procurements and successful contracted rollouts (note SEP delivery is ongoing), deploying superfast broadband technologies to locations suffering from market failure. Building on this experience and expertise gained, Digital 2020 investments will act as a natural successor to this work, pushing future proof technologies deeper into rural and challenging locations. As a technology neutral deployment, this strand will support investment in the most cost effective and sustainable solutions, offered by the marketplace. The infrastructure will also be accessible to third parties, providing the foundations for future private sector investments and ubiquitous coverage across the LEP area. Using a gap funding mechanism, the let contract will ensure assets remain in perpetuity with the private sector, mitigating public sector management risk and ensuring full integration with existing NGA networks.
The Connection Voucher Scheme is designed to run in parallel with the not spot intervention and offer greater flexibility to businesses seeking access to business grade services and to support operations and expansion. This intervention will act as
a seamless extension to the UK Government’s Super Connected Cities Programme, offering enterprises the opportunity to transition to NGA access, or double existing provision speeds, supporting greater productivity and efficiencies in operation. In line with State Aid regulation, this intervention will not be restricted to ‘white’ postcodes, thereby offering a wider base for enterprise impact, whilst addressing cost barriers in urban areas and established business parks. The scheme will also support more bespoke solutions, which businesses are seeking in lieu of standardised consumer products. This will be a demand-driven project, with enterprises being screened on the eligibility of their application, whilst also making capital contributions to the cost of installation.
Digital Business Support
The Digital Business Support strand augments the investments being made in broadband connectivity, as an effective way of maximising the benefits derived by businesses. This calls upon local experience of delivering targeted business support and direct engagement with SMEs to embrace and capitalise on becoming ‘digital by default’. By offering a demand led support service, enterprises, which have the greatest capability to reap productivity benefits, will be provided with the expertise, advice and support required. In doing so, the opportunity to maximise take-up associated with the not spot and voucher strands is maximised, supporting greater private sector investment and the clawback of public sector funds. This support will be delivered in-house by the Skills & Growth Company