AFM Solutions funds Local Authority WAN roll out

A £4 million wide area network project for schools has been funded for one of the UK’s largest Local Authorities.

Background:
The Customer was one of the UK’s largest Local Authorities and needed to upgrade the county’s school broadband connectivity. However, LEA budgets did not stretch to the anticipated large sum required and the winning bid needed to offer funding over 5 years as a prerequisite.

The requirement:
The Customer decided to tender for an up to date schools’ communications infrastructure: one that would involve the implementation of a modern “fit for purpose” Managed Internet and Wide Area Network Infrastructure. The total anticipated set-up costs were in the region of £4.3 million and the project (already underway) was expected to complete by the end of the following March. The requirement included a funded option for the Council under which the infrastructure set up costs would be amortised through a fixed charge over a 5 year period, the first payment due on the first day of the following financial year.
The Council recognised that the Integrator would need to finance these set up costs externally and the AFM team was asked to assist.
The Council also needed a “partial redemption” option in the event that they wished to repay the finance; this was to deal firstly with any grants they might receive from Central Government and, secondly, in the event that schools left the LEA and become Academies

The solution:
We worked with the Integrator and the Council, co-ordinating funding and engaging with internal and external legal advisors to negotiate funding terms within the OJEU Managed Services Contract.

Having obtained approval for the structure, we funded the total project over a period of 7 months as the fibre optics, new switches and local router infrastructure was installed and the net work implemented. The funding was arranged without any recourse to the Integrator and allowed the Council to adhere to its strict OJEU requirement

The benefit to the Integrator:
The Integrator could not have won the tender and neither they nor the Council had the knowledge to build in the “pay as you go” requirement that the Council had stipulated