Retail Service Offerings
The Department is seeking to put in place a contract with a suitable broadband service provider to provide at least 3 retail broadband service offerings – a Consumer Service, a Small Business Service and a Small & Medium Business Service. These offerings are to be made available in all remote areas of Northern Ireland, defined in the Draft Services Contract as the ‘Minimum Coverage Area’. The service offerings must comply with certain minimum specifications and the retail prices at which these service offerings are made available shall be subject to a cap. The Department intends to pay the contracted service provider certain fees for connecting customers in the Minimum Coverage Area (as defined in the Draft Services Contract) to these service offerings. These fees will vary depending on whether the customers being connected to the service offerings are located in ‘Priority Cells’ or ‘Non-Priority Cells’ (as defined in the Draft Services Contract). Fees will also vary depending on the timing of the connection. It is the strong desire of the Department that the service offerings will be available in all parts of the Minimum Coverage Area and that all ‘Priority Customers’ (as defined in the Draft Services Contract) will be connected to their chosen service offerings by 31 May 2009 or on such earlier date as specified.
Wholesale Service Offerings
The service provider shall also be required to make available wholesale service offerings to other service providers provided that these service offerings allow those other service providers to provide services equivalent to the specified service offerings to their own customers. The prices at which these wholesale service offerings are made available to other service providers shall be capped. Further details are set out in the Draft Services Contract.