At what point in the process do you recommend boroughs engage with lawyers and are these commercial lawyers?
You will likely engage with your legal team when you seek approval from the relevant Committees. At this point it is worth asking if they have the expertise internally to support the wayleave process. If they don’t, there are a number of external companies who can do this. It would be a good idea to get these in place as early as possible to prevent any delays later on.
Can you give some examples of social value requirements you have seen?
There have been a lot of innovative, borough specific social values created to support corporate objectives. These are the most common ones:
Employment related social values that include targets for employing from within the borough, having apprenticeships and work placements, and ensuring all staff are paid the London Living Wage.
Free connections – this can include connectivity to communal spaces, sheltered accommodation, intake rooms, hubs, and other local authority buildings.
Digital inclusion training programmes.
Low-cost tariffs for residents who are most in need.
What do you see as the most challenging part of the process? And are there any lessons learnt from others about how to manage the challenge?
Communication is the most challenging piece of this programme, with all stakeholders including staff and residents. Often, staff are not aware of the work taking place and this can result in mixed messages to residents when they make contact with the Local Authority. And resident engagement is the top priority and the most difficult to do well. Creating a stakeholder engagement plan, good stakeholder mapping, and regular reviews of these by the project manager are essential. When multiple estates and multiple providers are in delivery, communication should be as hands on as possible. With this being a cost neutral programme, the majority of the resident communication sits with the providers and the wayleave provides for this. But it will be the Local Authority that residents look to for confirmation that the work is approved, and the project manager should lead the engagement internally. Methods we have used to support the comms from the providers include direct contact with the TRA (Tenants Residents Association), on site pre-meets with resident representatives and onsite meetings during the installation phase, posters in communal spaces, use of electrical notice boards, open forums and meetings, advisory emails once a site is approved to caretakers, neighbourhood managers, housing officers, articles on the website and in resident magazines, and notices via social media.
What is the best way to measure / track value promised by operators, in terms of social value?
When the reporting dashboard is set up, add these metrics to it. The project manager will make sure the providers are connected into the relevant departments, for example employment, to support them to deliver the social values. This can then be reported on through the dashboard each week/fortnight/month by the providers updating the project manager as required.
Are some boroughs more "desirable" than others? If so, what influences the fibre providers view of desirability of a particular borough e.g. inner or outer London?
Most providers have the intention of connecting every borough in London, regardless of location. There may be some logical preferences in terms of their infrastructure and network builds which may make some areas quicker to connect, for example if the neighbouring borough already has the infrastructure, however the size of portfolio is not relevant.
If boroughs are replacing copper with fibre do they need a wayleave, if so is there any difference?
Any provider wanting to install infrastructure on your buildings/property needs a wayleave. They may be able to upgrade their existing infrastructure as part of an existing wayleave or they may need a new wayleave. We would recommend requesting a copy of any existing wayleave to ensure it is still fit for purpose. The terms of your wayleave will explain what they can and can’t do.
There are four categories of properties. Council owned, Housing Associations, Businesses and private properties. Are there any differences in what the council can do for each of these types?
Within the wayleave, any council owned building can be included, regardless of property type. We attach a residential stock list and a non-residential stock list with the wayleave to make it clear what properties can be cabled. Many providers will have, or will be looking to have, separate wayleaves with other landlords in the borough such as Housing Associations and private landlords. By securing a wayleave with the Local Authority, the provider is then able to commit the investment to bring their infrastructure into the borough as a whole, which will ultimately benefit all residents with full fibre broadband being available in many residential streets and business communities. Many boroughs are already experiencing the benefits of this.
How do you accommodate new homes onto the existing wayleave?
A change to the residential stock list can be made at any time by completing a side letter with list of properties. This is helpful if the original stock list was incomplete or new properties are bought by the organisation. The installation process is different for new builds and so, in our experience, new homes as a result of new development have been captured under a separate wayleave as part of the overall new build programme. Wayleaves can stipulate that new builds are not included and that the wayleave does not mean that the provider will have an automatic right to install on new buildings. The best option is to connect the new build project team with the providers at an early stage so they can have these discussions.
Multiple providers all laying fibre in same council blocks could be problematic [too many unsightly cables etc], can a wayleave assist in mitigating those issues / any other thoughts?
Wayleaves give you the right to control the methods used by providers in placing their infrastructure on your buildings. There are a number of different methods and whilst there will need to be additional cabling and boxes installed, even with a wayleave the provider still requires your approval to install. There will be practicalities around this but it is worth outlining your requirements in the ways of working document that accompanies your wayleave from the beginning so that providers understand your expectations. There are also some solutions on the market that have been developed to ‘house’ multiple providers in one. There are some complexities to these but they do exist and mean one installation can provide 4 networks, and at least 1 borough has already developed their own version of this.
What's the highest number of fibre suppliers in a single property? Does it ever go above four?
The number of providers on a property is down to the number of wayleaves you have signed and whether all the providers intend to cable every property. If you have signed with more than 4 providers, then it is likely that the multiple dwelling units will have more than 4 lots of infrastructure on them.
These FAQs can also be found on the Connected London Website