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West Sussex UK Council Debates Superfast Broadband Funding Boost

Monday, May 19th, 2014 (8:43 am) - Score 263

The West Sussex County Council has started to debate an extension to their £20.1m West Sussex Better Connected project, which could put an extra £2-3m (total) or so towards helping to extend the reach of BT’s “superfast broadband” (FTTC/P) speeds to 95% of the region by 2017.

According to the projects website, the scheme currently “aims to make it possible for more than 90% of the county to connect to better, faster broadband services” by spring 2016 (note: no mention of “superfast” speeds [25Mbps+]). But confusingly BT’s original press release stated that “fibre broadband will be rolled out to around 98% of West Sussex homes and businesses” by the same date.

We assume that the 90% figure is for “superfast” connectivity and the 98% references superfast and sub-25Mbps speeds, although this is a classic example of the poor communication that has littered many of the Government’s related Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) schemes where consumers are often given confusing messages.

Never the less BDUK recently allocated an additional £0.86m to West Sussex in order to help the county achieve the national “superfast” target of 95% by 2017 and the council has now proposed to more than match this with an extra £1.25 million from their own coffers (BT will probably commit more funding too). According to the Crawley Observer, councilors have until this Friday to call in the proposal for debate.

The government has warned all councils that its grant will not be allocated unless the local authorities match the funding.

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