Superfast celebrations at West Sussex village school as superfast broadband project marks completion of £20 million first phase

More than 60,000 further West Sussex homes and businesses already have access to better faster broadband thanks to the West Sussex Better Connected partnership £2.5 million second phase of partnership now underway

More than 60,000 further West Sussex homes and businesses already have access to better faster broadband thanks to the West Sussex Better Connected partnership

£2.5 million second phase of partnership now underway

A major project in West Sussex today celebrated the successful completion of its £20 million first phase with one of the latest communities to benefit from its roll-out of superfast broadband.

Amberley First School and local residents said a special ‘thankyou’ to the West Sussex Better Connected Broadband partnership between West Sussex County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK initiative, which has already made faster broadband available to more than 60,000 homes and businesses in the county. A £2.5 million second phase of the project is now under way which will reach another 3,000 West Sussex homes and businesses by the end of 2017.

The high-speed technology is available to more than 230 households and businesses and school in the village of Amberley – and already it is proving highly popular with around a third of villagers so far having placed an order.

The majority of residents in Amberley can get superfast speeds of up to 70Mbps at home, offering better online learning and entertainment and the ability to work at home better than ever before.

Jon Gilbert, head teacher at Amberley C.E. First School, said: “We want to thank West Sussex County Council, BT and Openreach for the faster internet speeds we now have at the school. There is a lot of excitement among the pupils and staff about the new way that lessons can be learned and enjoyed using the speeds and capacity that the new fibre broadband has provided.”

Ed Vaizey, Digital Economy Minister, said: "Our rollout of superfast broadband has already taken superfast speeds to more than four million homes and businesses who would otherwise have missed out. The West Sussex Better Connected partnership has done a fantastic job and the widespread access to superfast broadband that this scheme is delivering will provide a tremendous boost to the West Sussex economy."

David Barling, cabinet member for Residents’ Services at West Sussex County Council, said: “It is fantastic to see Amberley First School benefitting from the Better Connected project. These children can include a digital education in their learning and enhance their skills which will help them for the future. The aim of the Better Connected project has always been to bring better, faster broadband to West Sussex and it is fantastic to see the school and the local community benefitting.”

Stacey King, BT’s regional partnership director for the South East, said: “It is great news that by working together efficiently and effectively the partnership has been able to provide faster internet speeds to Amberley village and Amberley First School. The engineering to provide high-speed broadband to the village has at times been challenging and at one point included crossing the river Arun over an historic bridge. This investment in fibre broadband is another example of how faster internet speeds are transforming the online education and entertainment opportunities for communities as well as boosting the local economy as businesses use the technology to boost their competitiveness.”

The Better Connected project builds on BT’s commercial fibre broadband programme across the county, which has already given more than 350,000 homes and businesses access to the high-speed fibre technology.

West Sussex Council is investing £6.26m in the project, BT £7.6m and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme £6.76m.

The new fibre-based network is open to all broadband providers on an equal wholesale basis, so local households and businesses can benefit from competitive products and pricing from a wide range of broadband providers.

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, entertainment and development opportunities for households.