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UPDATE East Sussex Signs Extended Fibre Broadband Rollout Contract

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 (11:52 am) - Score 723
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The East Sussex County Council, which is working in partnership with Brighton and Hove City, has today become one of the last local authorities in England to sign a Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract to help expand the reach of superfast broadband connectivity to thousands more homes.

At present the existing £35.5m+ (£25.64m from public sources) e-Sussex scheme is already working with BT to make their FTTC/P “fibre broadband” connectivity available to 99% of homes and businesses in the county by late March 2016 (note: 96% will get “superfast” speeds of 24Mbps+). Overall some 66,500 additional premises should benefit from the first contract.

However a quick look at a recent council meeting document reveals that 38,565 premises have already benefitted from the first contract, which is above the target of 35,000 for this period. Confusingly the most recent update also states that “over 15,000 premises were able to receive speeds of 24mbps or above, with only 2,211 able to receive less than this” (missing a few?). Meanwhile take-up in related areas stands at 10.7%.

But the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme today confirms that a second SEP contract has now been signed, which will see BDUK contribute another £2m of public investment (this is up sharply from the provisional allocation of £650,000).

Sadly the council has yet to publish an official press release and so we lack the final details for coverage and funding, although the SEP goal is designed to push superfast broadband out to 95% of the UK and East Sussex already seems set to hit that, even without a new deal.

The latest council meeting also states this: “We have been working with BT to deliver ahead of schedule and under budget; £5.3m of funding will be carried forward into 2015/16 for delivery of the next phase; delivering broadband into hard to reach parts of the county.”

The £5.3m mentioned above relates to the existing roll-out contract, with the council spending less in 2014/15 than anticipated. As stated by the council: “The additional variation of £20.3m reported at quarter 4 is largely due to slippage on the Broadband scheme of £5.2m due to implementation costs being lower than anticipated allowing for a phase 2 in 2015-16.”

We hope to update this article in the coming days / weeks with the final details.

UPDATE 2nd July 2015

It’s been confirmed that the new contract will benefit at least 5,000 more premises and is worth a total investment of just over £4 million, with half of that coming from BDUK as previously stated. The other £2m will come from the East Sussex County Council and finally just a measly £200k from BT.

An additional £2m is also available to the project and the council are asking BT to do further work to model solutions using this extra money to enable the project to extend yet further. In terms of the deployment, construction work on the new contract is expected to begin towards late summer 2016, but no completion target is mentioned.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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2 Responses
  1. Avatar MikeW

    That council report seems to say that the 38k homes-passed figure is the current number (or possibly the end-of-financial-year figure), while the 15k figure applied to last December.

    As a framework county, didn’t they need to sign the contract yesterday to catch the EU approval?

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