Speedy internet access available for thousands in six months

Thousands of premises in East Sussex could upgrade to faster broadband in less than six months, the ‘e-Sussex’ project announced today. Construction work is well underway just eight months after East Sussex County Council signed a multi-million deal with BT to provide faster broadband speeds. 

Survey work is being carried out in several East Sussex towns and villages and the first major part of the new network - new fibre “spines” or backbones – is now being installed. Residents in Heathfield, Hadlow Down and Mayfield will also notice new green roadside cabinets which have been built in preparation for connection. Many more will follow over the coming weeks. 

Residents in Heathfield, Burwash, Etchingham, Hadlow Down, Horam, Mayfield, Robertsbridge, Rotherfield and Rushlake Green and surrounding areas should soon be able to take advantage of better internet access – and many more communities will follow in the years ahead. 

Cllr Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council’s Lead Member for Economy, said: “This is one of the top economic development projects for this authority and we are delighted that work on the ground has well and truly started. Residents and businesses in the county are now a step closer to our vision of a fully connected county.” 

Peter Cowen, BT’s regional partnership director, said: “This is great news for East Sussex. Fibre broadband opens new horizons and helps us to be more efficient, keeping us in touch with vital services. Fast broadband provides strong and reliable connections to the rest of the world. Local businesses have the opportunity to grow, attracting investment and boosting the local economy.” 

The work forms part of the multi-million pound e-Sussex project driven forward by East Sussex County Council in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council. 

The county council embarked on the project in a bid to improve internet connections for thousands of residents who have had slow broadband and, in some case, no access to modern broadband. In May 2013, the two authorities signed a deal with BT to bring faster broadband to a total of 66,500 homes in the e-Sussex area within three years. 

The deal between BT and the County Council builds on BT’s on-going commercial fibre rollout and means that 96 per cent of homes and businesses in the county are expected to be able to access superfast broadband services (with speeds of at least 24Mbps and above) within the next three years. 

The ‘e-Sussex’ project represents an investment of £35.44 million. BT is contributing £9.8m towards the overall cost of deployment in “non-commercial” areas while East Sussex County Council is contributing £15m towards the project, with £10.64m coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds. 

Residents and businesses can keep up to date with the plans in their local area by visiting www.goesussex.co.uk 

Enquiries about this news release should be made to Karen Bowles by email (Karen.Bowles@eastsussex.gov.uk) or by phone (01273 337291) 
or to 
BT’s regional press office on its 24-hour number: 0800 085 0660. All news releases can be accessed at BT’s website: http://www.bt.com/newscentre 

Notes to editors 

*80Mbps and 330Mbps are wholesale speeds. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may use different speeds in their advertising. Individual line speeds will depend on network infrastructure and the service chosen by the ISP. 
Engineers for Openreach, BT’s local network business, are building the new fibre infrastructure. Fibre to the Cabinet will be the main technology deployed. This can deliver wholesale downstream speeds of up to 80Mbps*, and upstream speeds of up to 20Mbps. Fibre to the Premises technology – delivering ultra-fast wholesale speeds of up to 330Mbps* – will also be deployed in certain areas. 
The technology will boost the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new customers and operate more efficiently, whilst opening up a host of new learning and development opportunities for households. 
People using fibre broadband are able to use multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and send and receive large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently. New fibre services are set to transform the way households use the internet, from the simple sharing of pictures and video and on-line training and research to enjoying the growing boom in entertainment services available on-line. 
For local businesses, the fibre network will underpin the introduction of many new services and applications. Big business applications driven by new ‘cloud’ services will be within the reach of enterprises of all sizes. Computer back up, storage and processing will be faster, and the use of high-quality videoconferencing will become viable. 

About the e-Sussex project 

The UK Government ambition is to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015. 

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), a unit within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is responsible for managing the Government’s broadband funding. BDUK has developed a procurement framework and the ‘e-Sussex’ project team has secured a private delivery partner through this framework. More information is available on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website. 

The “e-Sussex” project has had to comply with stringent European Commission State Aid regulations to use public money to fund the commercial market place to provide superfast broadband services. 

The “e-Sussex” project will not physically connect users to the improved broadband service but will provide the technology through which residents and businesses can contract with suppliers to buy broadband services, in the usual way. 

Wholesale access means that BT must make its broadband infrastructure available to Internet Service Providers to market a range of competitive packages to customers. 

East Sussex received one of the top 10 highest allocations in the country to provide faster broadband. 

About Superfast Britain 

Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements: 
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017 
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities 
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services 
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. 
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk