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Social Enterprise Broadband

Public Group active 1 month ago ago

The CIC Social Enterprise model offers local communities the opportunity to have their 4th utility interests safeguarded.

This group is the place to explore how best to own and operate Eden’s future-proof 4th utility in a way that puts people first.

CIC and BDUK Funding (7 posts)

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  • Profile picture of Hector Hector said 1 year, 10 months ago ago:

    I have a question that I wouldn’t mind some views on.
    For those communities that prefer to go the CIC route, does that disqualify them from receiving any of the BDUK funds?
    I was hoping that for those communities a proportion of the funds may be made available to reduce the cost to households e.g. reducing (or eliminating lol) the connection fee, assistance with dig costs on the homeowner’s property, etc.
    Such assistance would substantially increase the odds of getting enough community support to make it viable.

  • Profile picture of Miles Mandelson Miles Mandelson said 1 year, 10 months ago ago:

    I think it’s highly unlikely that BDUK will allocate funds directly to individual CICs in the way you propose, given the EU-driven procurement process they are currently engaged in. The nearest they might come to directly supporting community networks is by ensuring that affordable backhaul is made available to every community.
    Having said that it would make sense for a proportion of the available funds to be set aside for small grants to facilitate community initiatives.

  • Profile picture of chris conder chris conder said 1 year, 10 months ago ago:

    I agree Miles, it is far more important that the funding goes into the trunk, providing affordable access to every community. I think it is well within the means of us all to dig to it, or wifi to it. I think that if it is necessary in some areas, parish councils could take out loans for equipment that could be easily repaid, many have already started working out the business plans and have been amazed to find that these CICs can be into profit within a relatively small timescale. Barry has worked it all out as well, it is very doable providing we have access to dark fibre. AKA digital parish pump.

  • Profile picture of Guy Jarvis Guy Jarvis said 1 year, 10 months ago ago:


    I agree with you that there could be some direct support for local communities and there is precedent in both Wales and rural France for a broadband voucher scheme that requires little admin overhead to deliver as it is outcome based.

    Please see

  • Profile picture of Hector Hector said 1 year, 10 months ago ago:

    @fibreguy thanks for the link.
    So if I understand you correctly the voucher would be ‘guaranteed’ by BDUK funds? If so that’s exactly what I was hoping for.
    The question now is do we go about securing such funding?
    Do you have any advice on how or where pressure could be applied?
    I’m prepared to put a lot of effort into this because it’s going to be a vital component of the selling process.

  • Profile picture of Guy Jarvis Guy Jarvis said 1 year, 10 months ago ago:

    @Hector yes guaranteed by BDUK via CCC as the primary delivery organisation.

    On the basis that by so doing the level of uptake is increased and reached more quick that would otherwise be the case i.e. the catalyst principle.

    Securing such funding requires a coordinated and concerted push from community broadband champions, Parish and District Councils directed at Cumbria County Council.

    The more voices bubbling up and demanding that democratic choice be put into the hands of those who will be saddled with the solution, the better.

    Time is short and there is literally a matter of two or three weeks for CCC to be made aware of the importance of the 4U voucher, particularly in the Big Society context.

    The do-nothing (or do-not-enough) option will be Community Hubs leading to BT FttC for some and a golden opportunity squandered to find better ways of delivering Digital Services.

    My sense is there is significant institutional resistance in parts of Government to the idea of giving the general public vouchers and on the plus side significant goodwill politically to give 4U vouchers a go.

    After all the BDUK raison d’etre is market testing, trying out innovative approaches to delivering future-proof broadband into rural areas and testing the limits of what works is surely part of that process.

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