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Connected Counties

Welcome to Better Connected

Better Connected is an exciting project to bring better, faster broadband to West Sussex. 

We have made it possible for more than 90% of the county to enjoy better, faster broadband by building on the commercial roll out by telecommunications suppliers.  

We now want to push even further and provide ‘superfast’ broadband coverage to a further 7,000 premises by the end of 2018. We are being ambitious but believe this is achievable.

 

Use this site to find out about our plans and see what services are available to you.

 

Where and when - can I get superfast fibre?

You can find out in four steps:

  1. Enter your landline number  into the availability checker below. The checker will tell you whether services are available to you, and if not give you information about when they may be. It will also tell you which exchange serves your property. If a cabinet number is not given your home or business is either connected directly to the exchange, or is served by fibre to the premise (FTTP) network.
  2. Find out which BT exchange and cabinet your home or business is connected to by using the BT postcode checker.
  3. Find your exchange area on our new broadband services table to see if your cabinet or exchange only line is included in our roll out. If it is not check to see if your area remains eligible for funding on our high level roll out map.
  4. Consider applying for a subsidised wireless or satellite broadband installation to give you a service of at least 2Mbps download speed. Find out more information about the Better Broadband scheme by using the Better Broadband FAQ's.

Is 100% fibre broadband coverage possible?

West Sussex County Council is 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, as well as the social benefits that faster and more reliable broadband brings 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 people working from home.

In 2018 we will have invested nearly £10 million in a £30 million programme to improve fibre broadband infrastructure in order to benefit the county and push coverage as far as possible.

However we are constrained by both available funding and technology, meaning that some areas are beyond the boundaries of what is achievable.

Reaching 100% fibre broadband coverage is not possible with the available funding and technology and West Sussex County Council has not set this as a goal.

If your property is without access to fibre broadband and not included in our plans then it will continue to remain eligible for any future funding, although West Sussex County Council will not commit any further budget.

See our FAQs for advice about options to consider.

FAQs - Questions & Answers

What is Better Connected? +

Better Connected is an exciting project to bring better, faster broadband to West Sussex.

We have made it possible for more than 90% of the county to enjoy better, faster broadband by building on the commercial roll out of broadband by telecommunications suppliers.

60,000 more premises are now able to enjoy the benefits of broadband and we hope that more than 3,000 extra homes and businesses will also be able to access ‘superfast’ fibre broadband by the end of 2017.

My postcode is eligible but no improvements are planned. Why?+

West Sussex County Council does not have a stated aim of securing 100% coverage of ‘superfast’ broadband. We’ve always known that there are some places where it is simply too expensive, or not possible with current technology, to provide improved broadband services. These areas will continue to remain eligible for any future funding.

My postcode remains eligible for any future funding but I can’t get decent broadband. What are my options?+

You may wish to explore the opportunity to apply for a subsidised installation of a satellite or wireless broadband solution. This scheme was launched at the end of last year by the government as a way of ensuring all properties can access ‘basic’ broadband of a minimum of 2Mbps. Find out more details here Better Broadband FAQ's

If you are one of a number of neighbouring properties being affected it may be worthwhile pursuing a self-funded option with BT. BT has a ‘community partnerships option’ in which it will cover part of the cost of building infrastructure if a community agrees to fund the remainder. Find out more details here Community Fibre Project

We are exploring sources of funding to support those communities that we are aware of who are acting proactively and looking to self-fund a solution. We are also keeping a log of all postcodes where we know that access to broadband continues to be an issue, check your postcode is logged by emailing broadband@westsussex.gov.uk

How do I find out if where I live is included in the Better Connected project?+

The West Sussex Better Connected team keeps information on which postcode areas are eligible for funding by the project.

If your area is not eligible for public funding it may be because it is within a commercial rollout of fibre-based broadband by either BT or Virgin. Please send your postcode to Broadband@westsussex.gov.uk


What is broadband? +

Broadband is the term used to describe a wide range of technologies that allow high-speed, always-on access to the Internet. This is most often delivered via a connection through a telephone line or cable service, but can also be delivered using wireless and satellite technologies.

Large amounts of information are carried at high speed making it possible to download music, movies and images as well as using the internet quickly and easily for on-line banking, shopping and public services.

What is ‘superfast’ broadband? +

‘Superfast’ broadband is now defined by the Government as download speeds of 30Mbps or over. Connections to the internet are generally defined by download speeds (or 'data transfer rates') in Megabits per second (Mbps).

What is the technology for better, faster broadband? +

The main technology that is being used to provide access to ‘superfast’ broadband is Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC). This is where the copper cable between the local BT telephone exchange and the local cabinet is enhanced with a fibre optic cable, which greatly improves performance. The connection from the cabinet to the home or business purchasing broadband continues to use the existing copper wires carrying the telephone line.

Where FTTC is not an option, Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) is considered subject to survey and cost. This is where a new fibre cable is laid to a point either in the ground or on a telegraph pole to service a number of homes or businesses.

In all cases customers then need to request a fibre broadband service from their Internet Service Provider (ISP).

What is the difference between a commercial and a publicly-funded rollout? +

Telecommunications companies are investing in building and improving broadband infrastructure with the purpose of making money by selling broadband services to customers. This is the commercial rollout of a variety of technologies including fibre-based, wireless and satellite services. Publicly-funded broadband rollout is being paid for by local authorities and the government to help to bridge the ‘digital divide’ where the commercial market place is failing to do so.

Is it legal to use taxpayers’ money in this way? +

Our public sector investment must take account of EU State Aid rules. This is to ensure that the funding is being targeted at the right areas for the right reasons, and that there are no credible investment plans for similar ‘superfast’ broadband infrastructure projects that overlap with our proposals.

The project will only invest where it is compatible within these rules and has received approval via BDUK State Aid notification to the European Commission to allow this.

How is the roll out planned? +

This is not a ‘first come first served’ project. Increasingly expensive engineering is required to build the network further in the county.

Openreach carries out detailed engineering surveys, design and network planning to inform what services may be able to be built and where.

We know that deployment plans can change due to the need to take into account the outcomes from survey and network planning work, as well as changes in speed and coverage capabilities as technology improves.

The details of the roll out are not fully known until implementation gets underway on the ground.

Is fibre-based broadband my only option? +

No. There are Internet Service Providers that can provide broadband using wireless and satellite technologies in West Sussex. Find out about broadband packages available for you to purchase from all suppliers including fibre-based, cable, satellite and wireless services.

Am I eligible? +

If you can answer yes to the following questions:

I currently experience slow broadband speeds of less than 2Mbps;

My postcode is included in the delivery plans for either the publicly funded roll out of broadband infrastructure or commercial roll out by suppliers but is not likely to benefit within the next 12 months.

How does the scheme work? +

We will provide an eligibility code that you can present to a selected number of retail service providers to obtain a subsidised satellite or wireless broadband installation.

You will need to place an order and enter into a contract for satellite or wireless broadband services from one of the providers for a minimum of 12 months.

How do I use the code? +

Once you have received an eligibility code, you should select the product that best meets your requirements and the amount of monthly subscription you are willing to pay.

Order the service from your selected provider and give them your eligibility code. The provider will confirm the features of the product you have chosen and the costs involved in a minimum 12 months service contract.

The code will cover most of the cost of installation and commissioning of your satellite or wireless broadband service. You will be responsible for paying any remaining cost of installation and commissioning (if any), and paying the monthly subscription for the service you have selected, and for paying any VAT on the amounts due.

How do I apply? +

You can apply to benefit from the scheme by completing a simple online application form - Voucher code application form

When can I apply? +

The scheme is open until the end of 2017.

How will I know if I my application is successful? +

We will advise you of the outcome of your application by email and within one month.

If your application is successful you will receive a code and a list of the satellite and wireless broadband retail service providers currently operating under the scheme, and their contacts details.

If your application is not successful, you will receive an email informing you of this.

Can I appeal if I am not issued with a code? +

Yes, you may submit one appeal by email setting out the grounds for your appeal, and why you believe we should have issued you with a code.

Can I use the code with retail service providers that are not part of the scheme? +

No, the code can only be used with satellite and wireless broadband retail service providers registered on the scheme. We will let you know who they are at the time we issue your code.

You can choose a service from a provider which is not registered on the scheme but you will not be able to use the eligibility code and will have to meet the full cost of installation and commissioning the service.

Will my property still be considered for future broadband improvements? +

Yes. Your postcode will remain eligible for any future funding for a ‘superfast’ solution.

Who operates the scheme? +

The scheme to deliver the 2Mbps Universal Service Commitment (USC) is operated by a partnership between Central Government, local authorities, a number of satellite and wireless broadband retail service providers, and a number of satellite and wireless broadband platform providers.

Applications under the scheme are administered by West Sussex County Council, using a nationally agreed process and eligibility criteria.

Are there other ways to access broadband services? +

You may already be able to access broadband services. Carry out a check on your postcode here - BT postcode checker

You may be able to get a 4G mobile broadband connection. Carry out a check on your postcode here - Mobile coverage checker