We are very mindful of all of the benefits that broadband can bring to support continued economic growth in the county in both urban and rural areas. Faster and more reliable broadband also brings social benefits into people’s homes and communities.
We are also very aware of the problems that slow broadband speeds cause local residents and businesses as well as to people working from home.
By the end of 2018 we will have invested nearly £10m of a £30m programme to push fibre broadband coverage as far as possible, to more than 95% of premises in West Sussex. However, we are constrained by both available funding and technology, meaning that some areas are beyond the boundaries of what is achievable.
As 100% fibre broadband coverage is not possible with the available funding and technology, we have not set this as a goal.
Although the County Council cannot commit to any further budget, if your property is without access to fibre broadband and not included in our current plans, it will continue to remain eligible for any future funding.
We are keeping a log of all postcodes where we know access to broadband continues to be an issue.
2 Better Broadband Scheme
Discounted broadband installation is available for people who experience slow broadband speeds.
You are eligible to apply if:
- you currently experience slow broadband speeds of less than 2 Mbps
- your postcode is included in the delivery plans for either the public-funded roll out of broadband infrastructure or commercial roll out by supplier but is not likely to benefit after the end of 2018.
If eligible, you can apply for a code for use with a selected number of retail service providers operating under the scheme to obtain a subsidised satellite or wireless broadband installation.Apply for your code online (external link)
You will hear within one month if your application is successful. If so, you will receive a code and a list of the satellite and wireless broadband retail service providers currently operating under the scheme along with their contact details.
Applications under the scheme are administered by West Sussex County Council using a nationally agreed process and eligibility criteria.
The scheme is open until the end of 2018.
Using your code
Your code will cover most of the cost of installation and commissioning of your satellite or wireless broadband service.
- You will need to place an order and enter into a minimum 12 month contract with one of the providers
- You should select the product that best meets your requirements and the amount of monthly subscription you are willing to pay
- You will be responsible for paying any remaining cost of installation and commissioning, monthly subscription and any VAT on the amounts payable.
3 Self-funded broadband
If you are one of a small number of properties in a location without fibre broadband, it may be worthwhile pursuing a self-funded option.
Below are some schemes we are aware of that you may like to explore.
- BT Openreach have a self-funded option where they will cover part of the cost of building infrastructure if a community agrees to fund the remainder.
- Gigaclear are a fixed line broadband provider that sell superfast broadband solutions directly to communities.
- Gigabit vouchers can be used by small businesses and the local communities surrounding them to contribute to the installation cost of a gigabit capable connection.
- GOV.UK has published a useful guide outlining a range of self-funding options to consider, from demonstrating organised demand to suppliers to building and running a bespoke broadband network.
- Box Broadband offers a community fibre partnership scheme where they and the interested community will cover the cost of a new broadband network.
If you are a supplier who can offer solutions to communities, please email us at email@example.com.
4 Universal Service Obligation (USO)
The Government has legislated for a Universal Service Obligation (USO) to be placed upon suppliers to provide people with a service of a minimum of 10 Mpbs download speed upon ‘reasonable request’. It aims for the USO to be in place by 2020. You can find more information in Ofcom’s report.
Eligible consumers and businesses will be able to request a connection under the USO and a Universal Service Provider will be required to fulfill all requests up to a cost threshold of £3,400 per premises. Where the cost to connect them is too high for the supplier, some properties will not be able to benefit from the USO.