Since I last wrote to you in September I would like to update you with progress on our plans to enable connections to better, faster broadband in the county. We aim for the majority of residents and businesses to be able to access superfast fibre-based broadband speeds of 24Mbps in line with national targets and our available funding. We are working hard to beat the government’s target date of Spring 2017 and, by building on the continuing commercial deployment of broadband, ensure that more than 90% of our county can access fibre-based broadband services by Spring 2016.
Since contracting with BT last year we have been carrying out detailed planning to make sure we achieve the best possible coverage for the county in the most cost effective way.
Openreach, BT’s local network business, is carrying out the necessary geographical survey work to challenge or confirm assumptions about how and where the telecommunications network can be built. This will mean reviewing an area of nearly 800 square miles and including 23,000 postcodes. It is a highly complex engineering challenge in our rural and coastal county.
This work is being done in eight overlapping phases and is almost completed for areas in phase one. These areas were identified as important to survey and build first in order to plot the grid for roll out across the county. We anticipate making an announcement before Easter about the first communities to benefit.
To help keep you informed we have created a new website which includes an interactive map to keep track of what is happening where. As we begin building the network we can update the map to show where work is being carried out and when broadband services will become available. The website also has information about the benefits of better, faster broadband and helps to put users in touch with broadband suppliers. The website will be live this week. For more information please do visit www.westsussex-betterconnected.org.uk
4 February 2014