Wisborough Green in the South Downs is the latest West Sussex community to see the arrival of high-speed fibre broadband, making online working, shopping and socialising easier.
Better, faster broadband has been made available to the village thanks to West Sussex County Council, BT and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK initiative.
To celebrate, the West Sussex Better Connected team attended the village Farmers’ Market and Village Stores on Thursday, August 14.
A BT fibre broadband showcase van demonstrated the benefits of the exciting technology, and staff from West Sussex County Council and BT were on hand to explain broadband and answer questions.
Lionel Barnard, cabinet member for residents’ services at West Sussex County Council, said: ”It’s great news that Wisborough Green and the surrounding community can now be connected to high-speed broadband enabled by our exciting Better Connected project. We have real momentum now and across the coming months even more homes and businesses will have the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of this exciting technology.”
Wisborough Green Stores owner, Allan Self, welcomed the arrival of high speed broadband in the village.
He said: “I think it’s terrific. We can now join the 21st century and enjoy what many have had for a while. I think it’s important that everyone locally knows about broadband and how to get it.”
Keith Charman, chairman of Wisborough Green Parish Council, was also enthusiastic about the news. He said: “Our rural community is absolutely delighted to benefit from the West Sussex Better Connected project.
“There are a considerable number of businesses in our parish, many of whom work from home, so it’s vital to them to have access to faster broadband. We’re also installing broadband in our village hall as we believe it’s a fundamental service we need to provide in order to increase the use of the hall as a meeting and conference centre.
“Most importantly, we want to ensure everyone, from the youth club to the farmers’ market, can enjoy the benefits that better broadband can bring.”
The Better Connected West Sussex Broadband project has already made high-speed fibre broadband available to more than 10,000 homes and businesses in Ashington, Billingshurst, Bosham, Fittleworth, Graffham, Kirdford, Petworth, Pulborough, Selsey, Sidlesham, Storrington, West Chiltington and now Wisborough Green.
Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, commented: “More than a million homes and businesses have now benefitted as a result of Government investment in superfast broadband.
“It is totally transforming the way we live and work. You can download feature length films faster, chatting online with family and friends around the world is more reliable, and households can go online simultaneously without the connection slowing down or dropping out.
“For businesses, superfast speeds are boosting profits through increased sales, reduced overheads and accessing markets for the first time.”
Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “This is great news for Wisborough Green and West Sussex generally. Faster broadband will help local businesses grow, attracting inward investment and boosting the local economy. Fibre broadband is also an integral part of everyday life as people interact more frequently with the internet for transactions, social engagement and education.”
The roll out of publically-funded high speed broadband continues and the next exchange areas which are scheduled to provide access to high-speed fibre broadband services before the end of the year are: Birdham (covering East Wittering, West Itchenor), Bracklesham Bay (covering West Wittering), Burgess Hill, Bury, Chichester (covering Halnaker, East Lavant, Fishbourne and Westhampnett), Crawley, Eastergate, Haywards Heath and Houghton.
Additional surveys are being carried out to explore the feasibility of providing fibre broadband using alternative methods such as fibre to the premise (FTTP) broadband at exchanges in Ashington, Billingshurst, Petworth and Pulborough. Sutton exchange area is being surveyed for both FTTP as well as solutions for premises that are connected directly to their exchange on exchange only lines.
Better Connected is an exciting project to bring better, faster broadband to West Sussex, funded by West Sussex County council, central government and BT.
The Better Connected West Sussex Broadband project will provide fibre broadband infrastructure to more than 44,000 premises by spring 2016. It builds on BT’s on-going commercial fibre deployment across the county, which has already given more than 300,000 homes and businesses access to the technology.
The multi-million pound partnership is jointly funded by the West Sussex Council, which is investing £6.26m and BT which is contributing £7.6m, with £6.26m coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds.
The new fibre-based network is open to all broadband providers on an equal wholesale basis, so customers will have a choice of broadband suppliers.
Households and businesses in West Sussex will therefore benefit from a competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from a wide range of broadband providers.
The technology will boost the competiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new customers and operate more efficiently, whilst opening up a host of new learning and development opportunities for households.