West Sussex County Council signs £20 million broadband deal

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Fibre broadband will be rolled out to 98 per cent of the county’s homes and businesses in the next three years, following a partnership project between West Sussex County Council and BT.

The contract was signed at the council offices in Chichester this afternoon (Wednesday 15).

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 superfast speeds of at least 24Mbps.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “We are delighted to have entered into a partnership arrangement with BT that will significantly increase the county’s opportunity to grow its economy, and help all residents to enjoy the benefits of being online.

“West Sussex County Council is very aware of the problems that slow 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.

“We are now looking to BT, having won the contract, to deliver services to those areas which we know are without.”

Bill Murphy, managing director NGA for BT, said the project was ‘super news’ for the people of West Sussex.

“The county is mainly rural and over half of it lies in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty,” he said.

“There is a need to balance new development and infrastructure needed by communities to reduce congestion and support a vibrant local economy while maintaining the character of the county. This is where fibre broadband can play a key role, for example, by revitalising small towns, villages and hamlets by making it possible to start and run a connected business from these locations.”

An Observer reporter was present at the official contract signing. For the full story, pictures and reaction to the news, see next Thursday’s Observer (Thursday, May 25)