BT Agrees £20m BDUK West Sussex Deal

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BT wins yet more BDUK funding thanks to the Better Connected West Sussex Broadband Project

BT has agreed a £20 million BDUK deal with West Sussex County Council to bring superfast broadband to 98 percent of all homes and businesses in the county by Spring 2016.

The Better Connected West Sussex Broadband Project will add 44,000 premises that will not be covered by BT’s commercial rollout of fibre to the Openreach network, offering speeds of at least 24Mbps.

The aim is to ensure that all properties have access to speeds of at least 2Mbps, although it is hoped many will receive much faster broadband. Ofcom estimates the current average speed in the county is 11.7Mbps, while 9.7 percent receive less than 2Mbps.

BDUK West Sussex

Chichester Market CrossBT will provide £7.6 million to the project, with West Sussex County Council supplying £6.26 million and BDUK matching that figure.

The Council has welcomed the deal, claiming it will improve the local economy and bring a wealth of benefits to residents.

“West Sussex County Council is very aware of the problems that slow speeds or in some cases, no broadband at all can cause local businesses and people working and running businesses from home,” said Lionel Barnard, deputy leader for West Sussex County Council.

“This was a key rationale behind the Council’s decision to invest more than £6 million to provide more access to better, faster broadband across the county. We are now looking to BT, having won the contract, to deliver services to those areas which we know are without.”

BT has so far won all the money available from BDUK, having previously announced partnerships in a number of areas, including Kent, Durham and Northumberland. It is also likely to win all of the remaining money after the only other bidder, Fujitsu, withdrew from the procurement process earlier this year.

“There is a need to balance new development and infrastructure needed by communities to reduce congestion and support a vibrant local economy while maintaining the character of the county,” said Bill Murphy, managing director NGA for BT.

“This is where fibre broadband can play a key role, for example, by revitalising small towns, villages and hamlets by making it possible to start and run a connected business from these locations.”

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