West Sussex council awards BT £12.5m rural broadband deal

West Sussex County Council is the latest authority to award BT a rural fibre broadband deal, this one being worth £12.5 million to the supplier.

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West Sussex County Council is the latest authority to award BT a rural fibre broadband deal, this one being worth £12.5 million to the supplier.

BT has won all the previous rural fibre broadband contracts that are subsidised with government cash.

In the latest deal fibre broadband will be rolled out to around 98 percent of West Sussex homes and businesses within the next three years.

The Better Connected West Sussex Broadband project builds on BT’s on-going commercial fibre deployment across the county, and will provide broadband infrastructure to over 44,000 premises with speeds of at least 24mbps by the start of Spring 2016.

According to comms regulator Ofcom the county’s current average broadband speed is 11.7mbps, whilst 9.7 percent of premises receive less than 2mbps.

West Sussex County Council is contributing £6.26 million to the scheme, with another £6.26 million coming from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) unit.

Lionel Barnard, deputy leader for West Sussex County Council, said, “West Sussex County Council is very aware of the problems that slow broadband speeds, or in some cases, no broadband at all, can cause local businesses and people working and running businesses from home. 

"This was a key rationale behind the council’s decision to invest more than £6 million to provide more access to better, faster broadband across the county."

Fibre to the Cabinet (boxes on streets) will be the main technology deployed. This can deliver wholesale downstream (access) speeds of over 24mbps (and in some cases up to 80mbps), and upstream (sending) speeds of up to 20mbps.

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