Answers to questions about the SRN procurement process can be found below. Find out more on the main Procurement page.

35 FAQs

Procurement overview

What will SRN be procuring?

The details of the procurements are being developed and will be made public as soon as they are ready.  In essence, SRN will be procuring the majority of items and services needed to acquire, design and build the publicly funded  sites including site construction along with the equipment and services.

What types of procurement will be run?

The procurements will be run under public sector rules and regulations.  The exact types of procurement or procurements are still to be finalised but, at this stage, we expect a “Restricted” procurement to set up a Framework and an “Open” procurement for Site Select services.  Details will be published on the website (srn.org.uk) as they become available.

When are these procurements happening?

The dates for the start of any procurement(s) are still to be finalised and may depend on factors outside our control such as the timing of public funding.  The current planning shows the procurements to start early 2021 though there will be pre-market activities (meetings and questionnaires) before then.

Are you going to meet with suppliers before you start the procurements?

It is planned to meet with some potential bidders between October 2020 and the start of the procurements. These will be mainly 1-2-1 meetings though a larger supplier event is also being considered.  More information on these activities will be published on srn.org.uk.

Will smaller organisations also be considered?

The procurements will be open to organisations of all sizes.

Are the procurements under public- or private-sector procurement rules?

The procurements will be run using guidelines and processes detailed in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (“PCR15”) or as amended by the UK after the 1st January 2021.

What is the expected spend (value) of these procurements?

The overall expected spend will be commensurate with the size and complexity of the sites involved.

I own land that could be used for one or more sites. How do I get involved in this programme?

Please contact info@srn.org.uk for more information

I run a small, local, construction company and may prefer to work through a larger organisation. How do I contact those?

The details of which companies are registering interest are confidential.  But we will be asking each that does register  if they are open to us publishing (either publicly on our website or on a 1-2-1 basis via email) their contact details for organisations such as yours to be able to contact them.

Process and Governance

How will we find out about updates or changes?

We plan to send emails to organisations who have registered about updates to the programme or procurement but suggest that you also keep an eye on the SRN website.

When do you currently expect the project to start?

We plan for the main procurement (to set up the framework) to start in early 2021.

Will the selected contractor/supplier need to be approved to work on behalf of the specific MNO and hold specific accreditations and/or will DMSL have their own pre-qualification process at framework stage?

This is addressed by the selection questionnaire which is still being drafted and will be shared as part of the formal procurement process.

Will contracts already in place with MNO’s have any bearing on the decision making process for preferred suppliers?

The procurements will be run in a fair and transparent way so that all bidders are treated equally in accordance with the applicable legal and regulatory provisions.

There is advantage to alignment across many of the lots. Will DMSL be the body that binds the overall approach in terms of a programme office approach or does this sit with the MNO?

Each MNO will have control over their programme approach but we are open to suggestions in regard to this, in accordance with the applicable legal and regulatory provisions

Framework

Is the host MNO obliged to deal with the selected subcontracts for the lots or can they carve off lots or portions of lots to complete by themselves. What level of control do the MNOs have over the entire process in terms of selection, governance, engagement, outcomes, responsibilities and liabilities?

After the framework procurement is complete, each MNO will run further competitions which will award the call-offs between that MNO and their selected supplier.

Will the framework contracts include pricing / to what extent will the call off contracts seek to alter any pricing in the framework?

The full details will be released in the ITT document.

Procurement Lots

Will professional services be included in the procurement?

Not at this stage; other procurements for professional services may be considered at a later stage.

Are the MNOs themselves able to work on particular lots – for example site design – if they have the skills in-house?

Yes, the MNOs are able to work on particular lots if they have the skills in-house. If services are provided from in-house skill set these services will not be covered by government funding.

If owning an asset as a package of sites moving forwards – should they be standardised and use the same structures which presumably are shareable, and equipment?

Whilst we aim to standardise, some sites may require bespoke arrangements or change, for example in order to meet planning requirements.

Commercial model / asset ownership

Are there specific annual uptime targets for the sites?

Service levels of all aspects of the procurements are under development along with other parts of the ITT documents.

Does DMSL have a preferred commercial or operational approach for Acquisition, Design and Build?

We are keen to understand which options are available from the market so we can consider and make a decision.

Is the intention that the assets will transfer to the MNOs or be retained and operated by yourselves?

We are still reviewing the ownership model and welcome any proposed methods of ownership.

Will the MNO own the TNS site and therefore then be responsible for its service for next 20 years?

We are still reviewing the ownership model and welcome any proposed methods of ownership.

Consortium

Are suppliers able to bid using a consortium?

We are happy for bidders to decide who they will work with to provide solutions, but we expect the contracting supplier to take full end to end responsibility as a “Prime Contractor”. Suppliers will be required to disclose all other parties that make up that consortium

Product

Would there be an approved list of products?

This is one of the areas that we are reviewing. We are open to suggestions on new technologies from potential bidders. Any approved bidder would be required to meet all standards, as set by each MNO.

Is it envisaged that the SRN sites across the lots between MNOs have the same equipment – towers cabinets weather enclosures to standardise the sites and designs? Or is it up to the MNO to decide?

There will be a common technical specification applicable to all sites, on this basis that standardisation of equipment across sites is expected, with some pre-approved exceptions. Each MNO will retain control of their respective site design.

Planning, Power and Transmission

Will concessions be granted in relation to planning given that it is a part-government initiative?

We are not expecting any concessions in this area.

Off-Grid Power solutions will potentially be required. Does DMSL have a view yet of likely requirements including economics of power provision for such remote sites?

We are keen to get input from potential bidders as to what is possible and available so that we can develop the requirements.

Is it likely that transmission ’hop’ sites (inc. multiple) will be needed as part of an overall solution to link back to fibre fed sites/locations. Has DMSL formed a view of transmission network topology at this stage?

The Transmission Plan is still currently under development and all options are being considered at this stage.

Radio Plan and Site Split

As part of the initial radio planning have any locations been identified and has there been any engagement with potential landlords or local communities?

MNOs submitted their initial radio plans to Ofcom. A formal response was published by Ofcom in November 2020. These will be subject to change as more work is undertaken.

In rural areas, it is often not appropriate or possible to deploy four sets of radios (one per operator). What scope is there for “neutral host” providers to bid, where they can provide coverage for multiple operators via a shared platform?

At this stage we are open to all options to fulfil this project.

How does DMSL envisage the supplier and framework agreements operating across the MNOs and their respective sites?

The framework will be available for all MNOs to use across all lots.

Is there an approximate number of sites required by each operator to achieve the targets?

It is currently planned that each MNO will have a number of sites distributed among them from a total pot of circa 315 TNS sites.

Grant

Has the government confirmed funding still available following the recent spending review?

Yes the government has included the Shared Rural Network as part of its spending review for 2021/2022.

Home Office procurement

What are the differences between the SRN procurements run by DMSL and the Home Office?

The SRN procurements run by DMSL are separate from those being run by the Home Office, such as Extended Area Service (EAS). Both procurements will be run independently of each other.