West Sussex better connected partnership to provide fibre to the basement broadband in Gatwick

300 small and medium businesses set to get access to Fibre to the Basement technology

The West Sussex Better Connected project today announced that around 300 small to medium sized businesses in Gatwick’s Cargo, North and South terminals, are set to get access to a superfast broadband called Fibre To The Basement (FTTB).

The announcement comes on the same day as the Government announced the nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now passed more than three million UK homes and businesses. The rollout is on track to reach 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 and is now reaching around 5,000 additional premises every day.

The FTTB will allow 300 businesses to get download speeds of up to 80Mbpsi for the first time from a wide range of service providersii. The majority of businesses will be able to place fibre broadband orders now and those firms currently unable to have broadband access, will be able to place orders in the coming weeks.

The joint project between West Sussex County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, aims to extend broadband coverage to those areas which fall outside the private sector’s commercial fibre broadband plans. More than 47,000 homes and businesses in West Sussex can already access fibre broadband, thanks to the West Sussex Better Connected project.

FTTB is a new way of delivering superfast broadband solution for buildings served by “exchange only lines”iii where there is no space to install street cabinets housing fibre broadband technology.

There can be a huge cost and complexity involved in connecting a power supply, closing and digging up roads, and securing wayleaves for access to private land – all of which can prove prohibitive.

By integrating fibre broadband kit into a building basement or comms room, the need for street furniture, public civil engineering works and road closures will be drastically reduced – and so will the time it takes for an installation to be carried out.

Exchange Only lines commonly offer download speeds of up to around 20mbps - more than enough speed to stream HD movies and connect to social networks or email applications simultaneously - but are more challenging to upgrade to superfast speeds of 24 Mbps+.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:"We are transforming the digital landscape of the UK and our nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached an additional three million UK homes and businesses. I congratulate the West Sussex Better Connected project on having reached more than 47,000 properties in West Sussex so far and are making incredible progress."

David Barling, West Sussex Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Broadband, said: “Faster broadband is a necessity for many companies competing in an increasingly global economy, and we are delighted that this new technology will benefit 300 small and medium sized businesses by enabling them to connect to high-speed broadband.”

Dave Axam, BT South East regional director, said: “Today marks important milestones, both locally and nationally, for the superfast broadband revolution. This exciting technology is transforming the opportunities for communities across West Sussex and the UK as a whole. BT’s multi billion pound investment in superfast broadband through its involvement in partnerships, such as the West Sussex Better Connected project, and its own commercial programme has already made fibre broadband available to more than 350,000 households and businesses in West Sussex - and the number is continuing to grow rapidly. Our Openreach engineers are rolling out the technology at a world class pace, reaching thousands more premises across the region every week.

“Successful broadband partnerships are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a key role in the future prosperity of communities for many years to come.”

For further information

Enquiries from local media should be directed to West Sussex County Council Press Office on 033 022 24520.

Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660 All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News

Notes to editors

i80Mbps 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.

ii The new fibre to the basement technique does not require Communication Providers (CPs) to change any systemsand has been designed to provide an identical experience to both CPs and end users.

iii The vast majority of UK homes are connected to BT’s network via a green roadside cabinet which in turn links to a local telephone exchange. However, a small proportion of buildings are served directly from the local exchange – so called “exchange only” lines. EO lines commonly cater for download speeds of up to around 20mbps (more than enough speed to stream HD movies and connect to social networks or email applications simultaneously), but they are more challenging to upgrade to superfast speeds of 24 Mbps+.

About Better Connected

Better Connected is an exciting project to bring better, faster broadband to West Sussex.

West Sussex County Council has contracted with BT Telecommunications plc to build the necessary communications infrastructure to provide improved broadband services. The £20million project is being funded by West Sussex County Council, the Government and BT.

We aim for the majority of residents and businesses to be able to access fibre-based broadband speeds of 24Mbps by spring 2016.

The project builds on the continuing commercial deployment of better, faster broadband in the county and means that by spring 2016:

  • more than 90% of properties in West Sussex will have access to NGA superfast fibre-based broadband infrastructure of a minimum of 24Mbps
  • all properties in the areas which are eligible for funding through the project should be able to access basic broadband speeds of a minimum of 2Mbps.


About BDUK

Superfast Britain is a UK 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