Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) confirms that it has terminated its two contracts with Bath-based broadband provider Truespeed.
The contracts have been terminated on the basis of Truespeed’s failure to meet key contractual commitments made at the time contracts were awarded.
The decision to terminate is supported by the Government’s Building Digital UK (BDUK) agency which is represented on the CDS Board.
CDS is working with BDUK to redeploy funding allocated to the Truespeed contracts in order now to deliver full fibre connections to as many eligible homes and businesses as possible in the contract areas via Gigabit voucher top-ups and the Government’s national Project Gigabit programme.
On December 23, 2020, following a competitive tendering process, Truespeed was awarded two contracts backed by £6.7 million of public investment to deliver full fibre broadband to 15,172 homes and businesses in areas of Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset, Mendip and Sedgemoor Districts where there were no credible commercial plans for delivery at that time.
The contracts were due for completion by December 2024 and the company confirmed at the time of contract award that it had sufficient finance in place to deliver to the CDS contracted premises, and the contracts were assured by BDUK prior to award.
However, commencement of construction work on the CDS contracts was severely delayed by Truespeed throughout 2021 while it sought to secure further investment in its commercial roll-out which it planned to deliver in sequence with its CDS commitments.
Regrettably, securing further investment took considerably longer than Truespeed anticipated. Although Truespeed has advised CDS that further funding is now in place, CDS has been informed by the company that it is subject to new investment criteria and limitations. This means Truespeed cannot meet its existing commitments in terms of deployment to CDS’ contracted communities. Truespeed has also advised that it will be unable to meet the contracted build completion deadline.
It has not been possible to find a compromise solution that would comply with public procurement and State Aid requirements and Government funding deadlines.
Truespeed has not submitted any premises to CDS for State Aid assurance and no public money has been paid to the company under the contracts.