Preparing your Wayleave documentation & Information Pack for sharing with ISPs
This article can also be found on the Connect London website.
If you are considering how to engage with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with the intention of agreeing the installation of gigabit fibre broadband across your housing and non-residential portfolio, this case study gives an outline plan for how to pull together a wayleave pack and engage with potential ISPs.
Take the decision to seek applications for a wayleave
Once the Local Authority (LA) made the decision to progress with agreeing wayleaves for the provision of full fibre broadband, the necessary approvals were sought. Led by the Housing, Regeneration and Planning Department, a paper outlining the benefits of this programme of work was presented to and approved by Cabinet, giving delegated authority to the Director of Housing, Regeneration and Planning for signing of the wayleaves once ready.
Establish a short-term project group
The LA hired an external consultant to work with a member of the Economy Team. The brief was to complete the wayleave specification and information pack, and to design a wayleave package to give their residents, assets, and infrastructure the best outcomes for the long term.
Identify interested departments to engage with
Internal programmes of work had already identified areas where the fibre broadband could provide additional benefits, not just related to housing stock, as well as departments who may have an interest in the programme. These departments included: Housing, IT/Digital, Health and Safety, Resident Engagement, and Connected Communities.
Identify interested ISPs
A number of ISPs had already contacted the LA to explore the opportunity for a wayleave. Additional ISPs were also identified from communication with other LAs who were willing to share their experience with ISPs rolling out fibre broadband in their borough. A list of ISPs with contact details was created.
Prepare the wayleave and supporting documentation
In order to get the most benefit from the wayleave, it needs to be prepared alongside additional documentation. In this case study, the external consultant was able to prepare a complete pack for inviting ISPs to apply for a wayleave. This included:
A letter of invitation highlighting the requirements of the borough, scope, and timescales.
The draft wayleave agreement, including Social Value Commitments.
Master stock lists – residential and non-residential.
A Ways of Working document to clarify requirements, expectations, and constraints.
This LA used the City of London template as the base agreement. Click here for the City of London standardised wayleave toolkit.
Every borough has a different take on what they are wanting, different constraints, different histories to be mindful of. By liaising with the identified departments, we were able to shape a number of key areas that should be included within the wayleave pack. These included:
Preferred location of cabling and infrastructure.
Number of listed buildings and buildings of interest, and the options for including them in the programme.
Preferred hours of working for the engineers during the installation programme.
Areas of high priority for connection.
At this point, we also looked at the regulatory compliance areas of fire, asbestos, electricity, building regs. and health and safety, as well as asset protection constraints to make sure the buildings and the wider neighbourhood environment felt minimal impact and that any local policy was referenced.
The Social Value Commitments formed an appendix to the wayleave and were designed to bring tangible, measurable benefits to the programme as a whole. Some of the social values were:
Employment in the borough – local jobs for local people.
Apprenticeships and work experience placements.
London Living Wage for their workforce – 100% of workforce.
Digital inclusion training programmes.
Free connections for life – community spaces, electrical cupboards, communal rooms in sheltered schemes.
Support for local community initiatives.
Payment for project management to support the programme.
Send out the wayleave application pack and negotiate
Approximately 3 months from the start of the project group, the wayleave pack was sent out to all interested ISPs and 3-4 weeks of discussion and negotiation took place. The wayleave was from the template and, as every provider operates differently, it required some element of personalisation for each provider around some of the terms and conditions. The external consultant acted as the point of contact for any ISP questions or discussion. Some requests for amendments to the wayleave were accepted, others were not.
Review formal responses against the key criteria
Within the invitation pack, we issued the ISPs with a questionnaire which asked questions relating to the key criteria. This formed the basis for our evaluations of whether the ISP will be a good fit for the borough. Our questions included: which social value commitments will you deliver, can you provide evidence of your customer satisfaction rates, can you provide evidence of delivering similar size projects, please elaborate on your fire protection controls and methods, can you provide connectivity to our industrial estates, etc. Overall, we asked 21 questions, as well as requesting copies of their methodologies, product and design overview, and reporting templates.
Present formal responses to interested departments, forums, and Boards; and obtain approvals and signatures
The outcome of the evaluation was presented and reported through internal process and, once approved, the wayleaves were sent to Legal for the final sign off and for signature. The intention in this case study was to achieve 3-4 signed wayleaves with suitable ISPs who could deliver full fibre connectivity to the complete residential and non-residential stock. Having a choice of providers will maximise choice for residents, and it is more likely that all social value commitments can be fulfilled.
This specific case study took around 9 months, but please note it can vary depending on the approval processes, levels of internal engagement and the resource available to support the work. Once signed, the programme moved into launch and delivery phases. If you would like any further information on this or the programme management of the installation programme, please get in touch.