Deployment and Management Responsibility
You will need to decide the level of involvement you would want in terms of deploying and managing the service. Remember this involvement may be community based and it is wise to take a realistic approach to future involvement of the community in a longer term project.
There are two main types of project implementation methods:
Self-build (DIY type)
where the community is actively involved with acquiring and implementing the infrastructure and fibre connecting the community to the network. This may include the on-going maintenance and support of the infrastructure providing the broadband services. Often this approach commits the community to a long term programme to either provide a return on the investment made in acquiring the infrastructure equipment or paying for the connectivity to the community from the Internet.
The self-build route may allow the opportunity to lay fibre between strategic community locations across local farm land and this could be achieved at a fraction of the equivalent cost if a specialist business is employed to carry out this task. It is estimated that up to 85% of the cost of project implementation is spend on the civil engineering aspects and any major reduction in these costs should be always examined.
Contracted In (managed service)
where the community by way of the broadband project team or Parish Council, selects the supplier to provide all aspects of the service to the community. Individual residents or businesses are normally required to take out individual term contracts (i.e. 18 months duration) with the chosen broadband supplier for the broadband service they require.
A “Contract In” approach linked to a suitable contractual community agreement provides the following main benefits:
- Lower cost implementation
- Faster service implementation
- Shorter contractual terms for the end users
- Can provide the speed/bandwidth demands for a community for the next 5 years
- Likely to provide a user route to super-fast broadband (more than 20mps)
- The project team can stand down for most aspects once the service roll-out is started. Community contract reporting and user updates being all that is required of the project team moving forward.
- Provides the opportunity for closely located communities to combine activities and have a service supplied to support multiple communities. This helps achieve funding support, potentially lower implementation costs, pooling of project resources and is a more attractive prospect for suppliers.
In both project implementation methods it is possible to have a hybrid of technology deliverables within the network delivery – fibre or wireless. It is also possible that once implemented the network could be transferred to a willing supplier for on-going maintenance and support and the administration facilities including the adding of new connections or the upgrading of services as required.
One important consideration to remember is that whichever method of delivery is chosen, it is the services and applications carried by the network to residents and businesses that is important. The physical network delivery is seldom considered important to the users once installed providing it remains reliable and fit for purpose.