Stage 3 – Policy, Governance and Legal

Contract Agreement Types

By project stage 3, progress should be made towards implementation of the service and the supplier and planned technology to be employed will have been chosen.

It is recommended that a number of separate but related contractual agreements are produced between the supplier, the community and the broadband user.

Consider implementing the following:

  • Heads of Agreement – a interim service agreement
  • Community infrastructure agreement – main document
  • Community Access Point Agreement
  • User Agreement – between the user/business and the supplier

For the Heads of Agreement and the community infrastructure agreement, the supplier will need to contract with a properly constituted organisation.

Whilst this should be the Parish or Community Council it could be a business willing to accept the contractual responsibility for the community service as a whole.

If the contracting party is the Parish or Community Council then it follows that a member of the Council should  be part of the contracting team liaising directly with the supplier.

In forming the contract model, you may wish to consider assigning responsibilities for drawing up the legal documents as follows:

  • The broadband action group should produce the Heads of Agreement (HoA)
  • The supplier should produce the remaining agreements
  • The legal advisor identified during the project initial stage should help with the HoA and the community infrastructure agreement as a minimum.

Heads of Agreement – If Required

The HoA document allows installation work to progress whilst the community access agreement is put in place.

It provides an element of security for the main parties in the early phase and the authority for the supplier to proceed.

The HoA typically includes:

  • Timescales for service delivery at the community level
  • Expected positions for the community access points
  • Community survey dates and information exchange
  • Outline funding payments and phases
  • Supplier and community outline responsibilities
  • Exit statements should things go wrong

Community Infrastructure Agreement

The community infrastructure agreement covers the service to the community and defines:

  • the contract minimum duration
  • minimum broadband speed delivered to the community
  • the initial community service implementation costs
  • the geographic limits for service Community Access Points
  • how the service will be installed and the initial and ultimate installation rate
  • Any special tariffs – community buildings schools etc.
  • how the user agreement operates within the community agreement
  • the supplier payback scheme (where applicable)
  • penalty clauses for major and or prolonged service failure

Community Access Point Agreement

This defines the relationship between the supplier and the owner of the premises where the CAP will be installed.  It would typically include:

  • Installation address and access details
  • Service provision costs
  • Supplier liabilities associated with the installation
  • Equipment ownership – supplier and premises owner responsibilities
  • Agreement duration – changes to ownership of premises

Broadband User Agreement

It can be assumed that suppliers will not wish to alter the terms and conditions of its standard user agreement to retain consistency for all its customers.

Business customers may have slightly differing terms to a consumer agreement but these variations are likely to be service level and bandwidth related attracting higher monthly service subscriptions and installation charges.

The user agreement typically defines:

  • the service and installation charges
  • contract duration
  • the broadband speed delivered
  • payment terms
  • fair usage terms
  • acceptable behaviour terms
  • installed equipment ownership
  • fault reporting
  • service failure penalty – supplier refund conditions
  • abortive supplier call out – user penalties