Local authority seeks to engage with potential commercial partners
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council is planning to install a public WiFi network in the town centre.
The authority is looking to engage with commercial partners that could install a network, and run it over the course of a long-term contract that would last at least seven years, and possibly as long as a decade.
The arrangement would be a “concession” contract, in which the chosen bidder would install and run the network at their own expense, but would have the opportunity to recoup their investment – and, ultimately, make money. While a precise value is not available at this stage, the council estimates that the engagement will be worth in excess of £4.5m to the chosen commercial partner.
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Rotherham is planning to launch a formal tender process in about a month’s time and, before it does so, it is inviting companies with a potential interest in providing the network to take part in an early-engagement and consultation exercise.
“RMBC will consider all suggestions and accept or reject them on their merits,” the council said.
Firms wishing to take part in the consultation have until 14 October to do so.
The concession model has, in recent years, become an increasingly popular option for local authorities to offer residents and visitors free public WiFi connections. Councils representing areas including Worcester and Bexley have used concession deals to install internet connectivity in local centres of commerce.