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
This scheme is operated by the government department responsible for broadband policy.
Information about the scheme is available from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) website.
Enter a postcode from the ‘Suppliers in my area’ page and contact a supplier to request a service.
The supplier will then check with DCMS whether you are eligible to receive a service through the Better Broadband Scheme.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.