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FarrPoint works with Swansea Bay City Deal Digital Infrastructure Programme to evaluate the impact on investment in regional digital connectivity

CASE STUDY

FarrPoint works with Swansea Bay City Deal Digital Infrastructure Programme to evaluate the impact on investment in regional digital connectivity

FarrPoint worked with Swansea Bay on the Swansea Bay City Deal Digital Infrastructure Programme. This is an investment currently estimated to be worth £1.2bn across a portfolio of 9 major programmes and projects throughout the region.

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Project Manager: Matthew Izatt - Lowry

Background

The Swansea Bay City Deal (SBCD) is viewed as a “once in a generation opportunity” to change the trajectory of the region’s economy. The challenges of COVID-19, Brexit and Climate Change have only enhanced the strategic importance of City Deal projects as a stimulus for economic development The SBCD has a number of digital elements within its programme to improve the local economic and social circumstances of the region. As part of the funding of the Swansea Bay City Deal Digital Infrastructure Programme, was required to undertake ongoing benefits realisation monitoring and report on a number of key outcomes. One of these outcomes is concerned specifically with the levels of investment in digital infrastructure, seen as an essential part of improving the social and economic performance of the region.

The Challenge

To ensure the SBCD Digital Infrastructure Programme had an evidence-based understanding of the current digital infrastructure landscape, FarrPoint was tasked to conduct an evaluation of the level of public and private sector investment for both fixed and mobile infrastructure during the financial year 2021-22.

FarrPoint conducted a two-part approach to this research. The first stage established a robust methodology to evaluate the level of public and private sector investment for both fixed and mobile infrastructure. FarrPoint set out the key assumptions required as well as the data sources used to establish the indicated improvement in the level of infrastructure. These assumptions and the overall approach were agreed with the team, with an expectation that the approach could be replicated in future years as part of the City Deal’s reporting requirements.

The second stage of the evaluation, involved baselining public and private sector investment in digital infrastructure in 2020-21, then subsequently assessing the changes over the financial year 2021-22. This showed where there had been an improvement in fixed and mobile connectivity, with further detail provided, where possible, on which supplier the investment related to.

In presenting the results to the SBCD Digital Infrastructure Programme, FarrPoint used their expertise to interpret the data, provide valuable insights, and a summary of what it meant for the region.

“We are very pleased with the benefits realisation exercise FarrPoint have conducted with us recently. As a Digital Programme it’s critical that we can accurately and credibly quantify inward investment in Digital Infrastructure, helping to achieve our aspirations for first class fixed and mobile connectivity across the Swansea Bay City Region. Our work with FarrPoint helps ensure we are supporting and facilitating our private and public sector partners to deploy fibre and mobile infrastructure to the best of our ability. It provides critical data regarding where we’ve been successful in attracting inward investment, and where our Programme should target it’s own investment now and in the future. FarrPoint were great to work with. Very experienced, with the necessary skills and expertise to deliver exactly what we needed, on time and on budget.”

Gareth Jones, SBCD Digital Programme Manager

The Results

The evaluation methodology established in the first stage of the project was provided to the client by FarrPoint, to ensure that they would be able to repeat this benefits monitoring process in future years of City Deal activity.

The outcome of the project enabled the SBCD Digital Infrastructure Programme to have a thorough understanding of investment in digital connectivity in the region. This gave them the tools to identify the gaps and develop a strategic vision with a clear future action plan.

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