Plans for better broadband in West Sussex move forward

PLANS to bring better, faster broadband to all of West Sussex have taken a step forward as an open market review has begun with suppliers.

Telecommunications suppliers are being invited to share their plans for existing and future (up to three years) superfast broadband coverage in the county.

The review will help to identify which areas or pockets of West Sussex are likely to be left behind others without access to superfast broadband services.

Together with the demonstration of demand shown from homes and businesses which have signed up for better, faster broadband, the information aims to identify the areas which will need intervention from the public sector.

Known as ‘white areas’, they will be targeted by the West Sussex Better Connected programme to receive public funding to lever in private sector investment from telecommunications suppliers.

West Sussex County Council said public funding will be subject to state aid rules which apply when public spending could distort competition or affect trade between the member states of the European Union.

Lionel Barnard, deputy leader of West Sussex Council said: “It’s an exciting step forward in the plans we have to connect West Sussex to the future and make superfast broadband available to all our homes and businesses. We are asking suppliers to tell us where they plan to invest so we can plan where to fill in the gaps with public funding. Superfast broadband has the power to bring so many benefits including growing our economy, benefiting our business and helping us all to access work, shopping, entertainment and public services more easily.”

The open market review is being held until Friday, October 12, and has been sent to all suppliers as well as being available online here and on the broadband pages.

The council said it be sharing information about the white areas where funding can be legally applied, later in the year as a public consultation.