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East Sussex UK Completes Phase 1 BT “Fibre Broadband” Rollout Contract

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 (2:02 pm) - Score 644
east_sussex_map_broadband_uk

The £34m+ e-Sussex project, which has been working with Openreach (BT) to make FTTC/P “fibre broadband” services available to 99% of local premises in the county (96% will get “superfast” speeds of 24Mbps+), has officially completed its first contract and reported good take-up of 37%.

So far the programme, which requires Openreach to build 400 new VDSL Street Cabinets and lay over 1000km of fibre optic cable duct, claims to have made faster “fibre broadband” services available to more than 73,000 additional premises in East Sussex. In addition, local take-up has improved considerably from 19% some 18 months ago (37% today).

However it’s worth pointing out that they did originally aim to achieve this goal by the end of March 2016 (here and here), which means that the East Sussex deployment is running behind schedule and we also have some doubts about whether or not they’ve managed to achieve the 96% coverage target for “superfast” speeds. NOTE: The “fibre” language used in today’s PR spin will only confuse matters.

Rupert Simmons, East Sussex Councillor for the Economy, said:

“As a result of the Council’s pro-active positive ambitions for the County, by the end of 2017 we expect that some 95 per cent of homes and business will have access to faster, more reliable fibre broadband. This couldn’t have been achieved without the Council having had such a high ambition for the County and committing funding to the project along with the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and BT.

We’re not stopping there; Cabinet has approved a further phase of the project which is now being developed.I’m delighted that our communities are taking advantage of the new fibre connectivity now available to them, and have no doubt that take up of services will continue to grow.”

We believe that the 95% figure highlighted above is actually reflective of “superfast” speeds because the raw fibre footprint already sits just shy of being universal. Otherwise, when BT’s own commercial fibre roll-out is included, it means that the high-speed technology is now available to more than 380,000 premises in the county.

As Rupert alludes above, a second Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract was actually agreed all the way back in 2015 (here). At the time we were informed that this will benefit at least 5,000 extra premises and is worth just over £4 million, with half of that coming from Broadband Delivery UK, plus £2m from the East Sussex County Council and just £200K from BT. A further £2m of funding is also being considered as part of a future Phase 3 contract (seemingly related to clawback).

The latest roll-out update for Phase 2 can be found online (here). However East Sussex hasn’t been terribly good at keeping the public up-to-date with their progress and today’s news is the first we’ve had in a long time.

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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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1 Response
  1. Avatar Tom Bartlett

    Any news for West Sussex? A similar announcement about their clawback was expected ‘by the end of February’.

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