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Broadband: Action plan

The action plan details the costs, stakeholders, activities, coordination and monitoring involved in implementing the broadband strategy.

Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband


Steps in the action plan

After defining your broadband plan and making the 4 key strategic choices (infrastructure and technologyinvestment modelbusiness model and financing) the next step is to set-up an action plan.

While a broadband plan defines the overall goals and strategy for broadband development, the action plan defines and details the activities needed to implement the strategy. It also contains estimations of costs and revenue during the different phases of deployment. It specifies the roles and responsibilities of different actors, how to engage and coordinate the stakeholders and how to monitor the execution of the project and its outcomes.

Cost estimates and financial planning

Deployment costs should be estimated in the action plan in order to meet the needs of the possible customer base. The technical solution does not differ from ordinary infrastructure deployment and any installation professional can be consulted on the matter. In order to keep costs down, several measures can be taken, as also indicated in the Cost Reduction Directive.

The action plan should also detail how the different financing tools are going to be used, and define the actions to be taken to ensure the needed funds are made available.

Risk assessment and management

Depending on the investment model chosen, but also on the accompanying business model, the financing tools employed, and the infrastructure type deployed, the public authority will be faced with different risks. It needs to map these risks and have a plan on how to manage those.

Network design, key connections and urban planning

Because municipalities and regions may often be the largest users of broadband in the local market, a plan to connect all buildings with fibre should be made (public administration, public healthcare institutes and hospitals, public schools, etc.). This generally constitutes the core of the network.

Moreover, since public buildings are generally near other residential and commercial buildings, this will also create good preconditions for the rest of the broadband deployment (area networks and last-mile connections).

The public authority should then make a master plan for the network, so that all parts of the local private market, all houses, urban and rural, multi-dwelling units (MDU), business parks and shopping centres are reached. This should result in a mapping of the area and a high-level network design.


Procurement will most likely be a central part of any broadband project. Hence, proper procurement procedures will need to be put in place. Moreover, if public money is used, state-aid rules should be considered in the procurement procedure.

Procurement can take very different shapes in different Member States and for different investment models and can be delicate to design properly. What must be ensured in particular is that the procurement be designed in such a way as to reach the objectives set out in the broadband plan, and that the strategic choices made can be properly implemented.

Market awareness is a very important procurement activity, especially, among the business actors who appear most suitable for the investment and business model chosen.

Due to the high complexity of this step, the public authority should consider using expert assistance to produce the public procurement specifications. The SIMAP portal provides access to the most important information about public procurement in Europe.

Monitoring progress

It is crucial to make sure the project is properly monitored and its success is correctly evaluated. Monitoring will allow you to enforce the agreed targets from suppliers and contractors and to ensure competition among multiple service providers over the deployed broadband network. Indicators for the monitoring shall include:

  • Physical deployment: proper installation of the necessary network elements (fibre cables, termination electronics, wireless transmitters, satellite ground equipment, etc.);
  • Network activation or service availability on different parts of the network according to schedule;
  • Service quality, in terms of actual down- and upload data rates, latency, network availability;
  • Failure rate: service or network downtime as reported by customers or discovered by network staff;
  • Maintenance and repair;
  • Service and network take-up, the number of new end user connections activated (residential and business), and the amount of fibre and/or capacity leased.

Monitoring will allow enforcement of the targets agreed upon with suppliers and contractors, for example by setting penalty payments or by linking payment to specific milestones.

Monitoring requirements should be set out in the contracts. In case of state aid, monitoring is mandated. Access (capacity, dark fibre or duct) should be provided to all service providers, without discrimination in terms of time, traffic management or quality of services limitation.

Identify potential customers

The plan should also identify potential customers such as end user, future operators and service providers. New actors will enter the local market when a new operator-neutral infrastructure is in place. If there is leasable infrastructure, several operators will see a business case in delivering services without the need to build it on their own. It is important that discussions with stakeholders take place early on and that many contracts and agreements are signed before deployment is started.

Establishing internal and external coordination and collaboration

A broadband investment project requires the coordination of many different activities, which include:

  • assigning a coordinator for the broadband plan;
  • establishing coordination between broadband and other infrastructural works to share civil-work costs;
  • organising personal interviews and workshops with unit managers of your administrative units.

Stakeholder communication and management

Your action plan should include a shareholder communication and management plan. For a project’s success it is essential to ensure that all stakeholders are consulted during the course of the project and that you give them proper support. Local residents, business and enterprises are the most important stakeholders and should be integrated as early as possible. The public authority’s profile must be highlighted to make sure people can follow and determine the relevance and impacts for the region.

Broadband champion

The strongest community engagement is always found when it is led and managed from within the community itself. This is best achieved by a Broadband Champion, someone who is:

  • already involved in the community (often in another role);
  • respected by the community for that role and his/her achievements;
  • passionate about maintaining the community alive;
  • concerned about the lack of broadband and the effect this is having on the community’s social and economic life;
  • a good communicator with a good general understanding of broadband;
  • has good general understanding of broadband.

It is important to remember that while the programme should enable and encourage Champions to learn from each other, they must always stay “rooted” in their community. This is where they add the greatest value and contribute more effectively to the success of the project.

Marketing and communication plan

In order to ensure consistency across all stakeholders and to maximise take-up, one should prepare a marketing and communication plan that considers:

  • raising awareness of the expected economic and social benefits of broadband;
  • providing an updated map of the broadband availability throughout the rollout of the project;
  • facilitating demand aggregation from businesses, households and other relevant public authorities;
  • managing customers’ expectations;
  • consultations with subsets of the key stakeholders, particularly end-user customers;
  • benefit awareness days and broadband education events;
  • scheme and area launches throughout the roll-out;
  • promotions consistent across all media channels;
  • identification and publication of success studies on a regular basis.

Stimulating demand

The public sector has a significant role in stimulating demand as a major purchaser of services for its own use as well as potentially procuring the new network. It also has a responsibility to encourage the development of new services and the establishment of infrastructure. In the long term, using the infrastructure to drive demand in the digital economy is a natural part of regional development and planning and the regional growth.

Local communities can play a very important role in driving demand for new services. There are many examples of successful bottom-up initiatives developed on a co-operative or private sector basis.

Decision making

Different levels of involvement imply different levels of influence on the decision making on a project. Three main variations can be identified:

  • if the network infrastructure is fully owned by the public authority, then the authority has full control over any decision-making;
  • for a private-public joint venture, a good approach is to consider the needs of the market and to have a board of public body stakeholders to oversee all decision-making;
  • governance can be exercised through alternative methods of influence. This approach may be necessary when the public authority is not directly involved. The public authority can still be able to monitor activities of the project and refer any undesirable outcome to another enforcing body.

For further details and examples please refer to the Broadband Investment Guide.

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