KCB Board Meeting, 13th March 2016

The board met virtually via teleconference last Sunday. Also in virtual attendance were Graham Curran, Margaret Shields and CBS’s Campbell Cameron. The draft minute is here, and has some additional notes from Campbell in red included.

In many ways the meeting revolved around Campbell’s presence and how the project, as we had reformulated it, could be integrated into the CBS process. Firstly, descoping individual properties is not possible under the current legislation. Only whole postcodes can be descoped. The legislation is presently being reviewed, however, the reason for this is the legal interpretation of State Aid legislation. KCB can only receive State Aid / de minimis funding on postcodes which aren’t in BT’s area, so-called ‘White postcodes’. Postcodes can only be funded once, and postcodes are the only unit of measurement.

A later email from Campbell, confirmed the list of White postcodes we can submit to DSSB for approval, and gives us a total of properties from a desk-based survey of 107. Given that we need a subscriber base of 70 to get over the initial sustainability threshold this looks hopeful. Once we have DSSB approval, there will then be a 30 day State Aid Consultation, and after that we will finally be able to issue a tender document.

On the tender document, CBS and KCB have been discussing whether issuing a design tender prior to the build and manage ones is adviseable. CBS are of the view that separating the tender documents is not adviseable:

Draft “Design only “Tender is not advised –  experience suggests issues of warranty on network build,  being offered – or honoured. “It’s not our design so we cannot Guarantee its efficacy” or “We built it to the design provided – it’s not our fault it does not work as effectively as planned” or “that network was not built entirely to our specification so we are not able to take responsibility” Advice is best to consider – deign build and operate – all three as lots with an option to combine or vice versa – and/or to offer the opportunity to submit an individual solution.

It would be fair to characterise the KCB’s attitude to both the restricted whitelist and the advice over the tenders as frustrated.

Two more items of note to point out:

  • First, we have had 80 or so responses to the surveys we posted last week, results of which are posted here.
  • Second, to expedite matters and to round up all the issues, we are organising a summit of all the organisations which have an input into this project the week beginning 11th April. We are hoping that this meeting will provide us with a roadmap to a successful provision of broadband to all three communities, as well as highlighting the difficulties this process has created for KCB. We will be inviting key influencers to this meeting to ensure that the best outcome is achieved.