The £20m West Sussex Better Connected initiative is gathering momentum, transforming broadband services across the county with more than 15,000 homes and businesses now able to benefit from investment into this vital infrastructure.

So far over 80 new green fibre broadband cabinets have been installed in nearly 30 communities across West Sussex by the joint project between West Sussex County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, giving thousands of people access to better, faster fibre broadband services across the area.

 Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey commented: “I’m delighted to hear that more than 15,000 additional homes and businesses in West Sussex can now access superfast broadband speeds as a result of the work that we have done. The rollout of superfast broadband across the UK is providing a tremendous boost to local economies and I congratulate the West Sussex Better Connected project on their achievements to date.”

The high-speed broadband is now available in the following exchange areas: Ashington; Billingshurst; Birdham; Bosham; Bracklesham Bay; Burgess Hill; Chichester, Crawley; Fittleworth; Graffham; Haywards Heath; Kirdford; Petworth; Pulborough; Selsey; Sidlesham; Storrington; West Chiltington and Wisborough Green. Eastergate will be the next community to benefit this month with further Coastal areas scheduled for the New Year.

Last month West Sussex Better Connected announced that they have recently secured extra public funding to further extend better broadband across the county with the aim of increasing coverage to 95% by 2017.

As part of this new process, West Sussex County Council has launched a State Aid public consultation. The purpose of this consultation is to validate the areas in the county that are eligible for public investment to deliver Next Generation Access (NGA) fibre broadband within the Superfast Extension Programme (SEP). The consultation was launched on 23rd October and will close on 24th November 2014.

Once the State Aid consultation is complete West Sussex Broadband will commence a new procurement for fibre enabled broadband and it is anticipated that this second phase of the Better Connected project will not begin before spring 2016.

The Better Connected fibre network aims to extend the reach of faster broadband to more than 44,000 homes and businesses in West Sussex by 2016. The multi-million pound partnership is jointly funded by West Sussex County 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.

Further information on the consultation and area maps can be found by clicking here.