Isle of Wight Rural broadband: Split Cabinet vote recommends BT to be selected as ‘Preferred bidder’ (Updated)

After deferring the decision, to consider other options, at their last meeting, IWC Cabinet followed council Officer recommendations.

Fibre optical leads by Barta IV

The Isle of Wight council Cabinet, made up of Independent councillors, has tonight voted to recommend BT as preferred bidder for the Island’s Next Generation Access (NGA) rural broadband project.

IWC Officers, led by Head of service Stuart Love, had made the recommendation.

Cllr Shirley Smart presented the paper.

Amendments to the published papers were proposed (Detail on these later).

After 16 minutes of discussion, five Cabinet members voted in support of the motion and three abstained.

Update 12.Sep.13 Cabinet decisions are recommendations. A vote at the Full Council has to be carried out before it become council policy. As this was a decision to appoint a contractor, it’s seen as an executive matter and can only be taken by the Cabinet

(Live coverage can be read here)

UPDATE 20:11: Inserted that amendments were made before vote.

UPDATE 07:22: Amendments detailed below

Option (a) (i)

(i) Approve BT as the preferred supplier to deliver the Isle of Wight NGA broadband project subject to BDUK and state aid approval and satisfactory agreement on any final matters in respect of the inter-relationship with the highways PFI and complete the capital grant agreement with the government (Department of Culture Media and Sport) to secure £3.09 million match funding

(ii) Specifically the Cabinet requires the project to meet the following criteria:

(a) A joint investment of £6.4 million to deploy superfast broadband across the intervention area on the Island.

(b) A £1.2 million Innovation Fund under the control of the council.

(c) 99% of premises across the Island will have NGA infrastructure deployed by September 2015.

(d) 100% of premises to receive a minimum of 2mpbs

(e) 97% of premises in the intervention area to have an NGA connection (min 30 mbps) post project

(f) 87% of premises in the intervention area to have immediate access to superfast broadband speeds (min 24 mbps) post project

(g) Potential for at least 60 ISP providers in the intervention area

(h) 96% of premises on Isle of Wight to have immediate access to superfast broadband speeds (min 24 mbps) post project

(i) A robust protocol between the council, the supplier (BT Openreach) and Island Roads to ensure highways are not dug up twice (or more) to provide for cost savings.

(j) Planned completion of the main roll out by September 2015

(k) Dedicated BT project lead and support appropriate to the roll out programme.

(l) Continued benefits from BT’s development of new technologies and products as they become available.

Image: Barta IV under a CC BY 2.0 license

Tuesday, 10th September, 2013 7:55pm

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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Technology, Top story

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15 Comments on "Isle of Wight Rural broadband: Split Cabinet vote recommends BT to be selected as ‘Preferred bidder’ (Updated)"

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mpit

I’m glad there are more with sense than without :)

The amendments to speed guarantees, I assume success at full council depends on BTOR agreeing to this?

It also seems appropriate that Cllr Bacon pointed out why there was so much apparent opposition. Perhaps if the difference between BTOR and BT was made clearer then there wouldn’t be so much bias in discussions?

Robbo

“Cabinet decisions are recommendations. A vote at the Full Council has to be carried out before it becomes council policy.”

Since when ?

Edwardo

Didn’t the indies say that decisions would be made by all councilors not just cabinet?

steve s

This is not possible under the present constitution. You will be aware that the constitution is currently under review with recommendations going to full council next Wednesday (18 Sept)

Sally Perry

Thanks for clearing that up Steve. Simon and I were also under the impression decisions were going to full council too. I hadn’t checked the agenda for next week’s meeting yet, but will look at it today.

sam salt

As usual Sally very good reporting. Can you shed any light on those who abstained on this vote?
Look forward to next Wednesday’s reporting.
Also thanks to Steve for clearing up a couple of points. Good to see councillors engaging and explaining things.

Sally Perry

Full details of who voted what and what was said by cabinet members due out this morning.

ps. thanks for the appreciating the effort of reporting live.

steve s

Having failed to persuade our cabinet colleagues of the validity of our reservations, Cllrs Jordan, Hillard and myself elected to abstain.

sam salt

Thanks for the very quick reply from both Sally and Steve. Steve thanks for the info. Shows a good mix when you have people with differing views and all that we can be hope is that the right decision was made. Was there any reason you abstained rather than voted against?

steve s

@Jalo.
I can only speak for myself, but this battle was already lost and dry powder is more effective than wet.

Cynic

@steve “battle already lost”.

I wonder where (and when) it was “won”- I suggested elsewhere it might have happened with the successful opening shots fired at project specification stage.

:-))

Man in Black
Thanks for adding details of the amendment. It was hard to understand what was included when Councillor Smart read it out in the chamber (forgive me but she didn’t seem to have a clue what she was talking about). When reading the item (l) “Continued benefits from BT’s development of new technologies and products as they become available.” it’s pretty hard to believe that BT didn’t have… Read more »
steve s

The amended motion was drafted by members from the report provided (including BT’s tender), in an effort to tighten up the terms under which any future contract would be negotiated… No representative of BT was involved.

Cynic

@ Steve s.

A fundamental tenet of selling large projects is “if you do not write the customer’s initial project specification, you have already lost the project!” (Been there, done it got the contract!) :-))

However, presumably you and the other abstainers will vote against the project in the Full Council decision?

steve s

Cicero,
This element of the process is complete. It was a cabinet (not full council) decision. It’s now up to BT to confirm that they are able to undertake the contract under the specific conditions as set out in the amendment above… then to get on and do it.