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Rural Broadband – Procuring finance and business support and strengthening of evidence base - RE0248

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) wishes to tender a short project for consultants to work with up to five pilot rural community broadband projects in Cumbria to help develop business plans for Government funding; provide advice to the communities on business planning; how to raise community finance; and advice on the different organisational and legal structures available so that an appropriate structure can be set up to manage the project and receive funding. This information will be developed into material which will form part of a DCMS/BDUK Rural Community Broadband Toolkit. Learning from the processes will inform the wider rural evidence base. Knowledge and lessons learned will be transferred to other appropriate organisations such as the Rural Community Action Network and inform other types of community project such as community renewable energy projects.

1. To fund targeted specialist support for the pilot communities in Cumbria to assist in the development of their business cases. The aim of the assistance is to create business plans, provide information on the different types of investment finance available for community groups and the different forms of organisational and legal structures. The learning obtained from this targeted assistance will inform the creation of the Community Broadband Toolkit, including a template business plan for broadband projects.

2. There is a wider knowledge transfer opportunity arising from the proposed work, including to the Rural Community Action Network (RCAN) which will be promoting the Community Toolkit within communities. Building the capacity of RCAN’s knowledge of different types of investment finance and organisational and legal structures will help develop their understanding of the issues and assist in the Network’s promotion of the toolkit.

3. To capture the learning from the process in working with the communities – including what worked well, barriers identified and solutions offered. This will also need to inform the wider rural evidence base, in terms of developing the understanding of the wider social, economic and environmental benefits of broadband.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : GENECON DCMS Rural Broadband Lessons report   (420k)
• INF - Information Leaflet : Community financing sources Fact Sheet   (129k)
• INF - Information Leaflet : Organisational Legal Structures Fact Sheet   (322k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2012

Cost: £16,500
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rural Development              
Fields of Study
Rural Affairs