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Better broadband project expands to South Downs

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Five thousand more West Sussex homes and businesses can now get access to better, faster broadband thanks to West Sussex County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK initiative.

High-speed fibre broadband is now available from internet service providers from new green fibre cabinets connected to exchanges at Ashington, Billingshurst, Bosham, Fittleworth, Graffham, Petworth, Pulborough, Selsey, Sidlesham, Storrington and West Chiltington.

The roll out continues next month with more fibre broadband availability set to ‘go live’ from new green fibre cabinets connected to exchanges at Kirdford and Wisborough Green.

Lionel Barnard, cabinet Member for residents’ services at West Sussex County Council said: “Our exciting project to bring better, faster broadband to the majority of the county is now gaining real momentum. We are delighted that the first 5,000 premises to be able to be connected to high-speed broadband enabled by the Better Connected project can now access the technology.”

Mr Barnard added: “Improved broadband speeds can transform how we work, live and communicate. This exciting technology can improve our quality of life and help to grow our economy by enabling new businesses to start up and existing ones to prosper.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “This is great news for West Sussex. Faster broadband will help local businesses grow, attracting inward investment and boosting the local economy. Fibre broadband is also a huge boost for local households whether they use the internet for on-line training and development, shopping or entertainment.”

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey MP said: “This fantastic news marks the next stage of a remarkable transformation of broadband in West Sussex and we’re on track to deliver access to superfast speeds to 44,000 homes and businesses by spring 2016. We understand how important access to superfast broadband is - the UK already does more business online than any other European country, and the widespread access to superfast broadband that this scheme will deliver will provide a tremendous boost to the West Sussex economy.”

More than 40 new roadside fibre broadband cabinets are being built and connected to power supplies and BT’s fibre-optic network in phase one of the eight phase roll out of publicly-funded broadband infrastructure in West Sussex. When a cabinet is live customers contract to buy fibre broadband services from an internet service provider, in the usual way.

Engineering surveys of exchange areas included in the second phase of the roll out have been completed ahead of schedule. Exchange areas included in phase two, which are scheduled to provide access to high-speed fibre broadband services before the end of the year, are: Birdham, Bracklesham Bay, Burgess Hill, Chichester (covering Halnaker, East Lavant, Fishbourne and Westhampnett), Crawley, Eastergate and Haywards Heath.

Additional surveys are being carried out to explore the feasibility of providing fibre broadband using alternative methods such as fibre to the premise (FTTP) broadband at exchanges in Ashington, Billingshurst, Petworth and Pulborough. Sutton exchange area is being surveyed for both FTTP as well as solutions for premises that are connected directly to their exchange on exchange only lines.

The Better Connected West Sussex Broadband project will provide fibre broadband infrastructure to more than 44,000 premises by spring 2016.

It builds on BT’s on-going commercial fibre deployment across the county, which has already given more than 300,000 homes and businesses access to the technology.

The multi-million pound partnership is jointly funded by the West Sussex Council, which is investing £6.26m, BT is contributing £7.6m, with £6.26m coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds.

The new fibre-based network is open to all broadband providers on an equal wholesale basis, so customers will have a choice of broadband suppliers. Households and businesses in West Sussex will therefore benefit from a competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from a wide range of broadband providers.

The technology will boost the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new customers and operate more efficiently, whilst opening up a host of new learning and development opportunities for households.

 

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