Ultrafast broadband for more Chichester public buildings

Broadband cable ENGSUS00120120517162626
Broadband cable ENGSUS00120120517162626

More public buildings in Chichester are set to benefit from some of the fastest broadband speeds.

Back in 2017 Chichester District Council agreed to join a county-wide project to rollout ultrafast broadband to some of the authority’s buildings.

West Sussex County Council awarded the contract for gigabit-capable dark fibre infrastructure to Cityfibre in 2018.

Network construction has already been completed in Chichester in Midhurst, with an expected go live date of early 2020.

Now the district council is looking to expand the project even further and connect an extra 50 public sector assets within the city to the dark fibre network.

The final sites are set to be agreed from a long list of potential locations.

The cost of the contract would be £743,000 over a seven year period and is due to be met from the county’s business rates pool.

Design and build work could start in 2020, with sites completed between late 2021 and late 2022.

The project was given the go-ahead on Tuesday (December 3).

Eileen Lintill (Con, Petworth), leader of the district council, said: “It’s crucial we take advantage of this and we are ahead of the game.”

Roy Briscoe (Con, Westbourne), cabinet member for community service and culture, added: “I think it’s an exciting opportunity and we do not want to get left behind.”

Peter Wilding (Con, Fernhurst), cabinet member for corporate services, asked if CDC could lobby for a dig-once policy so any disruption was minimised.

Officers voiced the hope that commercial suppliers would separately invest in fibre so that private sector properties would also benefit from faster and more reliable speeds.

A report said: “It is our expectation that suppliers will view Chichester as a forward thinking city with a digital agenda and one that would welcome accelerated commercial roll out of full fibre.

“If this is the case, the project would seek to minimise disruption and align civil engineering works if there is an opportunity to do so.

“In any event, Government has made the commitment that national gigabit coverage will take place by 2033.”