Superfast broadband

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What is eSussex all about?

The ‘eSussex’ project, led by East Sussex County Council, was launched to improve Internet connectivity for homes and businesses in East Sussex.

The project provides infrastructure (eg. fibre, cables, wires) which enables residents and businesses to buy fibre broadband from their Internet Service Provider (ISP). Connection is not automatic and users will always have to contact their ISP to arrange a fibre broadband package.

How is this going to happen?

Contract 1

May 2013 – March 2017. Following approval from ESCC’s Cabinet, a procurement took place using a “call off” from the Government’s Framework (BT and Fujitsu were named suppliers on the Framework). A contract was signed in May 2013 to deliver a programme of infrastructure improvements, using £22m of public funding. Contract 1 completed deployment on time, on budget and on target, having upgraded all exchanges in the county to fibre. It connected 70,400 premises to fibre infrastructure with 56,200 of these at superfast speeds (24Mbps+).

Information on contract 1 deployment at exchange level can be found on the project website.

Contract 2

June 2016 – December 2018. In 2015 ESCC signed a second contract using a budget of 6m public funding. Again, a “call off” from the Government’s procurement Framework was used, although this time only BT remained as a supplier, Fujitsu having withdrawn. Deployment is well underway, with a target of 7,900 premises to be delivered by end December 2018.

Information on contract 2 deployment at exchange level is regularly updated and can be found on the project website

Contract 3

January 2019 – March 2020. ESCC has now signed a third contract with BT, following an open procurement process (known as OJEU, Official Journal of the European Union) open to all telecoms suppliers. The £4.3m contract will deliver a further 7,220 superfast premises, with build starting in January 2019 and project completion provisionally scheduled for Q4 (end March 2020). The contract is unique in the whole of the UK in that our project requires the supplier to survey all premises in the county as yet unable to access superfast broadband up front (i.e. in advance of build). This means that, after surveys, we will absolutely know which premises will be reached and identify those that contract 3 will not cover. We will then be in a position to think about options for those not reached. More detailed information can be found on the project website.

The Government has set clear, ambitious targets for the future of telecoms infrastructure (see Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review) and we are in discussion with BDUK about the National Rural Gigabit Connectivity and Full Fibre projects and how we can use these in East Sussex. We’re also developing some ideas about how we can continue to work with communities and use match-funding on local projects. The project website will be updated as these plans develop.

National Voucher Scheme

The Government has launched and manage its own subsidised schemes to enable residents and businesses to access a Broadband Service.

Further details can be found on the top bar of the project website (National Schemes).

Enquiries

The eSussex website contains lots more information, including FAQs. The team can be contacted at broadband@eastsussex.gov.uk.