What is eSussex all about?
The ‘eSussex’ project, led by East Sussex County Council in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council, was launched to improve Internet connectivity for homes and businesses in East Sussex.
We have appointed BT as our delivery partner to help us roll out faster broadband over 3 years until mid-2016. The £34m project is being funded by East Sussex County Council, Central Government through their delivery arm Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and BT. The funding is being used in areas that are too expensive for the market to upgrade, and comprises both rural and urban Exchanges in the County – every Exchange in East Sussex is included. The current project will cover an area of 660 square miles and over 66,500 premises.
The project will not physically connect users to fibre broadband but will provide the technology through which residents and businesses can contract with retail suppliers of their choice to buy broadband services, in the usual way.
How is this going to happen?
We are working in partnership with BT who have developed a deployment plan of where and when faster broadband will be installed; rollout is well underway. To retain flexibility in order to deliver a complex and challenging civil engineering infrastructure build across the county by 2016, BT is not contractually tied to delivering in specific exchange areas at specified times.
Our first contract is achieving excellent results in bringing better, more reliable fibre broadband to many areas that would not otherwise benefit from upgraded services, but there are properties that remain hard-to-reach (for example, where a property is too far from the upgraded cabinet to benefit from any speed uplift). Hard-to-reach generally means too expensive for the public purse to fund.
We have signed a second contract with BT for £4m of investment so that a further 5000 homes and businesses in East Sussex will be able to access high-speed fibre broadband. Build works for Contract 2 provisionally begin towards late summer 2016. The postcode checker on our website has been updated to show which postcodes are covered in contract 2.
Detail at structure level is shown in the rollout table on our eSussex website under the News section (Contract 2 structures will be included as they are formally identified to us, starting in July 2016).
East Sussex will continue striving to find solutions for the remaining premises that are not currently benefitting from the commercial or public investments. This includes working with BT to look at emerging technologies over the course of planning and deployment of both contracts and assessing other options.
Basic Broadband Scheme
The Government launched a subsidised basic broadband scheme in December 2015 to enable residents and businesses to access a basic Broadband Service of at least 2mbps. Further details can be found on the eSussex website.
See our eSussex website for more information and for the latest news. If you have a query you may find our Frequently Asked Questions section useful.