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BMVI Study – Network Expansion in Rural Areas

Study for the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure – Success Factors for NGA Investments (development of high-speed-networks) in Rural Areas

 

Project Description:

Target of the study for the German Federal Ministry of Transport and digital infrastructure was to find out, which factors are key for successful - public or private - investments in NGA infrastructures, without pure public subsidies. Prerequisite: only projects for areas with a population density of less than 200 inhabitants per square kilometre or in municipalities with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants (rural areas). Furthermore, the result had to list mistakes which should be avoided.

 

Kind of Consulting Services:

The project was accompanied by Broadband Academy in the design as well as in the implementation phase. Context sensitivity and a holistic research approach were asked to be core elements of this study. Therefore, a phenomenological approach was used on the basis of a qualitative research methodology. In a two-stage process, first the source and environment factors and resource characteristics of representative expansion strategies and projects were taken up to trace specific investment strategies (40 individual projects were analysed nationwide). Afterwards a comparison was made with the concrete derived effects of project implementation - as long as the implementation status of the individual project already allowed a corresponding measurability. In a second step, these analysis results were generalized in the form of testable hypotheses and compared with projects, that have not relied on the thesis determination

The result of the examination showed, which factors for successful or promising investment projects should be taken into consideration for high-speed-network-development. Today, the findings of this study provide a "checklist" for the different market actors as relevant success factors for investment projects.

The study was published in spring, 2015. The total project period for the study was approximately 10 months.

http://www.zukunft-breitband.de/Breitband/DE/Ausbau/Erfolgsfaktoren/erfolgsfaktoren_node.htm



“Broadband in Hesse” – Market Information

“Broadband in Hesse“: Partial Project Management for the Hessian Ministry of Economics, Transport and Regional Development – Market Coverage, Market Information, Project Management

 

Project Description:

The overall control of the project "Broadband in Hesse" is under responsibility of an inter-ministerial steering committee. The overall project management is perceived by the Hessian Ministry of Economics, Transport and Regional Development, whereas the individual activities are managed on the basis of an integrated approach in five subprojects. An efficient monitoring and the coordination of the implementation of the Hessian NGA strategy towards all market players required inevitably a dedicated project management "market coverage". In 2012, Broadband Academy was included as part of the subproject management "market coverage" in the reporting and working structures of the project of the Hessian state government.

 

Kind of Consulting Services:

In this project, Broadband Academy gathered actively and independently relevant market information, about new and existing market participants / stakeholders, market changes and market needs. The information was prepared for the project management accordingly, for further use and the decision process. Furthermore, on our advice, newly created procedures and leaflets were adapted towards practical relevance and target groups. Thus, on the basis of a successful dialogue between the project team and relevant market players, the “Hessian model” was rolled out according to the NGA strategy of the state government. In addition, Broadband Academy also consolidated the monthly reporting of the individual activities of all counties for the project team in close coordination with three other regional broadband consultants.

In numerous consultations Broadband Academy has gained extensive experience in the field of project management in the Hessian telecommunications- and infrastructure market. Due to the successful subproject "market coverage" and as regional broadband consultant, we were actively involved in the achievement of the objective of the Hessian state government to provide a basic broadband coverage of 99.5%. Project duration was approximately 12 months.

Northern Hesse – Operator Model

Operator Model for Broadband Expansion of five North Hessian Counties – Feasibility Study, Business Model Approach, Foundation of a Network Infrastructure Company, Financing, Legal Advice and Project Implementation

 

Project Description:

By the initiation of a cluster of five cooperating counties, the objective was to set up a network infrastructure- respectively operating company to build up a high-speed network for the entire area. First, the relevant network concepts as well as the business models had to be analysed and selected, the implementation phase followed in the second step. Part of the analysis was the definition of the business model under the condition of the creation of a network infrastructure based on an "open access" approach, allowing the integration of all regional and national telecommunications services provider in a later stage.

 

Kind of Consulting Services:

The elaboration of above mentioned aspects required a high level of telecommunications-specific knowledge and experience, as well as business and legal skills, leading to the appointment of Broadband Academy and Muth & Partner as external consultants.

Based on an extensive feasibility study Broadband Academy put first the foundation for the subsequent project implementation. Beside the targeted business model approach also the appropriate financing models as well as the legal aspects could be worked out in detail.

Based on this implementation model Broadband Academy accompanies the actual project implementation today, in particular the financing discussions, the necessary tendering procedures incl. all necessary state aid law and public procurement aspects and the setup of a network infrastructure company with the necessary organizational structure. Another subject of the project implementation phase is the selective concept of "application islands", to stimulate local demand and the utilization of the resulting high-speed network.

The implementation of this project will ensure a broadband coverage on “NGA level” for the entire region of approximately 380,000 households. Due to its project support, Broadband Academy contributes actively in building up sustainable communications infrastructure for a large region in Germany. The duration of the project for the feasibility study was approximately 6 months, the total duration of the project from the very beginning to the present state is more than 3 years.

The project was successfully notificated at the Commission of the European Union and is the largest individal notificated project in Europe currently. Significant operational implementation milestones were:

 

  • Consulting concerning the foundation of a network infrastructure company, design of capitalization in connection with state aid law, design of an operator tender and construction tenders for the necessary civil engineering services (EU Broadband Guidelines, Individual Notification)
  • Examination of local / municipal legal requirements, in particular by §§ 121 et seq. HGO (economic activity of municipalities, requests to private subsidiaries)
  • Preparation of various budgeted balance sheets and capital calculations for the controlling
  • Preparation and support of discussions with banks for financing of infrastructure development
  • Preparation and execution of operator tenders, support of contract negotiations and finalization of operator- and cooperation agreement; accompaniment of extensive construction tenders for the procurement of necessary civil engineering- and installation services
  • Examination of the admissibility of a superstructure of existing infrastructures
  • Analysis of regulatory law (in particular short range Vectoring, Vectoring decision of the Federal Network Agency of Germany)
  • Revocation application for entry in the vectoring list
  • Consulting in dealing with the federal support program (BMVI): Eligibility check for subsidies for the project
  • Examination of the applicability of other programs (especially EAFRD; submission of a request for supplementary funding)
  • Evaluating the impact of the EU's cost reduction policy and the DigiNetzG on the present operating model

SKD Dresden - Public Wifi Network

Study for the Implementation of a Public Wireless Network for the National Art Collections of Dresden (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - SKD)

 

Project Description:

The national art collections of Dresden attract over 2.5 million visitors annually; the visitor stream of the "Zwinger" is approximately half a million. Therefore, the SKD has set themselves the goal of an integrated marketing and information concept, to promote the area as "cultural mile" starting from the Albertinum to the castle up to the Zwinger. Tourists should be provided on site with specific information and guidance about the location of the different museums. For this project, information boards with screens had to be developed, where a public wireless radio network can be integrated. Thus, visitors can be contacted via digital communication, providing them with a powerful access to the Internet at the same time.

 

Kind of Consulting Services:

Broadband Academy's feasibility study formed the basis for the planning and implementation of a public Wifi radio network in the above mentioned context. It served as technical and economic basis for planning and implementation of the public access network, taking into account the core aspects of a visitor guidance system.

The study included a comprehensive analysis part, first explaining the general technological aspects of Wifi networks and deepened afterwards the project-specific conditions and implementation possibilities. Following this, commercially available operational models for public hotspot networks were presented, deepened and compared with each other, to identify the project relevant implementation models. In the end investment- and operating costs were estimated based on the radio network- and route planning of the envisaged public Wifi and visitor guidance system.

As part of the study, the authors conducted discussions with various representatives of authorities and state enterprises on site together with the client. This helped to explore the different interests before starting the implementation phase of the project. The project duration was approximately 6 months.

Hamburg – Subsidy Measures for NGA Expansion

Support for the Introduction and Implementation of

Subsidy Measures for the Development of NGA Telecommunications Infrastructure for High-Speed Internet in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

 

Project Description:

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (Senate Chancellery, Office Media) asked Broadband Academy to initiate and carry out subsidy measures for the development of NGA telecommunications infrastructures in underserved areas of Hamburg, until the completion of the whole project.

Expected was a high-quality consulting and support based on sound expertise. All necessary and agreed steps had to be prepared "ready for decision" and, after approval, then on behalf of the client, also be transposed.


Kind of Consulting Services:

The consulting assignment included all necessary steps of the process, beside legal in particular commercial and technical aspects, until the completion. It included as well evaluation and acceptance of extension works. Concretely, this meant primarily:

  • Identification of potential development areas in Hamburg with insufficient NGA broadband coverage. Survey of existing infrastructures and categorization by "white", "grey" and "black" spots.
  • Recommendation of the most suitable legal basis to foster a fast, high-quality and sustainable infrastructure development at the lowest possible administrative and financial burdens.
  • Proposal of an efficient order of extension works, the areas (or the area) with which should be started, taking into account available financial budget of the first tranche and the number of households in the respective area.
  • Carrying out a market survey in accordance with guidelines for subsidy measures to demonstrate market failure in the target area.
  • Carrying out respectively support of the client in the implementation of the necessary, further process for subsidy measures:
    • Legally compliant, open, transparent and non-discriminatory tender, taking into account the principle of technology neutrality and commitment to open access to the subsidized infrastructure at the wholesale level in accordance with requirements of the subsidy measures.
    • Evaluation of tenders, advising the client for the selection of the telecommunications operator in view of the existing objectives.
    • Negotiation and elaboration of a cooperation agreement respectively a funding agreement between the client and the telecommunications operator, which was selected. Including fixing wholesale prices according to the pricing policies of the Federal Network Agency and the involvement of the Federal Network Agency concerning the access conditions.
    • Continuous monitoring of the extension process, evaluation and acceptance of the subsidized works (including a check on the use made of the subsidies).
  • Reporting:
    • Internal (with client-cooperation): regular interim reports and final reports on the various sections of the concept, task completion lists, meeting documentation.
    • External (public): Monitoring, reporting and publication, amongst others, in accordance with the requirements of the Hamburg Transparency Law (HmbTG) and the state aid guidelines for subsidy measures.
    • File management: storage and custody of all documents in written and electronic form according to regulation and requirements.
    • Preparation and follow-up of meetings.

 

Saarland - Subsidy Application “Broadband“

Creation of a Subsidy Application under the Federal Program "Broadband" for the entire State of Saarland

 

Project Description:

For the development and expansion of sustainable and efficient communications infrastructures, the State of Saarland follows the objectives of the Federal Republic of Germany. By the end of 2018 a state-wide coverage should be available with at least 50 Mbit/s for citizens and professionals/companies. Surveys from a study already performed have shown, that the State of Saarland is already well covered concerning broadband access through the existing market players - compared to other states. There is a good chance that significant parts of the Saarland will provide port data rates of at least 50 MBit/s by 2018. Nevertheless, apart from this, there are also areas where citizens and professionals/companies have no access to NGA broadband services today. It becomes apparent that this fact will remain as it is, without support from the public sector. In this context, the State Chancellery of the Saarland asked for support via external consulting services for the implementation of a broadband strategy.

 

Kind of Consulting Services:

Under the preparation of a subsidy application for the State Chancellery and the state-owned association eGoSaar all necessary activities for the creation of a qualified subsidy application were performed. These included in particular:

  • Survey of actual broadband-coverage on SAI- and on building level
  • Survey of actual network infrastructures
  • Exploratory talks with network-operators
  • Exploratory talks with all municipalities
  • Creation of the subsidy application, including all necessary GIS-works
  • Clarifications with the broadband office of the Federal Republic of Germany

Rhein-Sieg-County - Subsidy Application “Broadband“

Creation of a Subsidy Application under the Federal Program "Broadband" for the Rhein-Sieg-County

 

Project Description:

The Rhein-Sieg-County planned a publicly funded expansion project for the broadband rollout on NGA level. Exploratory talks with market-relevant telecommunications operators showed, that a county-wide and market-driven broadband expansion won't happen due to the lack of population density. Rather, an underserved area of about 20% of the district would otherwise remain in the medium term. The development of this area should be achieved by granting a public investment subsidy to a telecommunications operator (so called “Deckungslückenmodell“).

 

Kind of Consulting Services:

Under the preparation of a subsidy application for the Rhein-Sieg-County all necessary activities for the creation of a qualified subsidy application were performed. These included in particular:

  • Survey of actual broadband-coverage on SAI- and on building level
  • Survey of actual network infrastructures
  • Exploratory talks with network-operators
  • Exploratory talks with all municipalities
  • Creation of the subsidy application, including all necessary GIS-works
  • Clarifications with the broadband office of the Federal Republic of Germany

IKBit, Municipality Fürth – Legal Consulting

Broadband Project IKBit of several Municipalities, Operated by the Municipality Fürth - Legal Consulting, Operators Tender, Construction Contracts, Subsidy Measures

 

Project Description:

Purpose of the project is the preparation of an area-wide broadband services coverage (ten cities and municipalities in the district “Bergstraße”). Realized as a so-called operator model. The public sector built-up passive telecommunications infrastructures, which are leased to a private telecom operator. The operator upgrades the network with active equipment, operates the network and provides retail services.

 

Kind of Consulting Services:

  • Consulting and representation of a municipal operator concerning his broadband project as operator model
  • State aid- and procurement law examination
  • Consulting on legal requirements and conditions of municipalities
  • Representation of the client in awarding-meetings concerning operator tender and construction contracts
  • Consulting during the construction phase
  • Representation in administrative court process concerning cable routing
  • Consulting on regulatory issues (Vectoring decision of the Federal Network Agency of Germany; questions about short range Vectoring; accompaniment of comments to the Federal Network Agency; regulatory legal questions about access charges)
  • Consulting in dealing with the federal support program (BMVI): Eligibility check for subsidies for the project
  • Examination of the applicability of further funding (ELER, GAK)

Legal consulting was provided by our partner company, the chancellery Muth & Partner mbB.

 

Main-Taunus-County – Tender according to AVGO

Accompaniment of the Main-Taunus-County-Wide NGA Project - Support of Tender Activities incl. Closure of Financial Gap by Subsidies according to "AVGO"

 

Project Description:

In 2011, Broadband Academy prepared a feasibility study for the Main-Taunus-County with the recommendation to establish a municipal network-infrastructure, which will be leased to a network operator in the following.

Broadband Academy supported the project team of the district in terms of financing and organizational issues. Due to the change in the expansion strategy of the largest German telecommunications network operator and an increasing network-expansion with usage of equity capital in the district, the overall strategy was changed. In 2013, it was decided to provide a county-wide NGA-coverage supported by activities focused on new regulations in the state-aid-law to close the profitability gap.

The state aid rights situation was still unclear in the first half of 2014. Nevertheless, it was decided to put the state-aid-legal-basis of the project on "AVGO" ("Allgemeine Gruppenfreistellungsverordnung"), which came into force in June 2014. It was one of the first projects in this context in Germany.

Broadband Academy created a tender accordingly, and negotiated with a bidder in several rounds. A cooperation agreement for county-wide NGA supply was signed in September 2014.

 

Kind of Consulting Services:

  • Participation in a feasibility study concerning an operator model based on expansion with own funds
  • Consulting on preparation and implementation of an operator tender according to above mentioned frame conditions. Clarification of state aid and public procurement law requirements (Broadband Guidelines of EU, SGEI, Federal Regulatory Framework about empty conduits, AGVO)
  • Carrying out of a tender according to AGVO (so-called "Deckungslückenmodell"). Performance period from 2012 to 2014
  • Regulatory legal advice, particularly on the issue of switching distributors

 

 

Hesse - Guideline for Empty Conduits

Creation of expert opinion on legal questions of a "transfer of empty conduits, laid in the ground by municipalities" for the State of Hesse

 

Project Description:

Object of the project were complex legal issues that arise, when empty conduits, laid in the ground by the municipalities, should be transferred to telecommunicative use. The focus of the assessment were ownership issues, issues of state aid and public procurement law as well as the telecommunications right of way. Concrete recommendations were elaborated for holders of municipal-empty-conduit-infrastructures.

 

Kind of Consulting Services:

  • Creation of a guideline "use of empty conduits under public roads " for the Hessian Ministry of Economics, evaluation of legal issues in the transfer of publicly erected empty conduits infrastructures
  • State aid and public procurement law examination; in particular investigation of market prices for the transfer of empty conduits
  • Regulation legal analysis (especially with use claims under §§ 77a ff. TKG)
  • Funding for road construction
  • Budgetary law

Legal consulting was provided by our partner company, the chancellery Muth & Partner mbB.

Marburg-Biedenkopf – Procurement- & State Aid Law

Accompaniment of a county-wide broadband project in Marburg-Biedenkopf - procurement- and state aid law, investment cost accounting, loan application, budgeted balance sheets

 

Project Description:

In 2012, the county Marburg-Biedenkopf decided to foster a county-wide broadband expansion, if necessary with public subsidies. It was one of the first county-wide expansion projects in the form of a profitability gap model ("Wirtschaftlichkeitslückenmodell"). Contracting Authority was "Broadband Marburg-Biedenkopf GmbH". Muth & Partner designed and accompanied the tender process and extensive contract negotiations.

 

Kind of Consulting Services:

  • Legal and tax assessment of the possibilities for broadband expansion as part of a municipal broadband company
  • In particular examination of procurement- and state aid law (Broadband Guidelines of EU, SGEI, Federal Regulatory Framework about empty conduits)
  • Consulting on municipal legal requirements and general conditions
  • Economic review of an investment cost accounting concerning the development of a municipal telecommunications network in preparation of credit granting (operator model)
  • Preparation of loan-application from "WIBank Hessen", used for the broadband expansion; assessment from a legal and accounting perspective
  • Creation of budgeted balance sheets
  • Consulting on project implementation and accompaniment of tender for a profitability gap model ("Deckungslückenmodell")

Legal consulting was provided by our partner company, the chancellery Muth & Partner mbB.