EVERYONE in East Sussex – homes and businesses – should have access to superfast broadband within the next two years.
That’s the view of East Sussex County Council Leader Peter Jones, who also says that he will focus his efforts on ensuring that rural and hard to reach areas are at the top of the list for the technology upgrade.
Cllr Jones said, “I have a very clear and simple aim when it comes to this vital technology.
“I want to see the public and private sector working together to provide superfast broadband to everyone in East Sussex.
“It’s a tough challenge but I believe we can get the majority of our network upgraded over the next two years.
“I also want to ensure that our rural areas and other parts of the county that could be hard to reach – where many of our small businesses are located – will be on the priority list for this upgrade.”
Last month, the County Council announced that it was proposing to more than match an allocation of £10.6m from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) to help with the rollout of superfast broadband.
“We have put aside an allocation of £15m, in our capital programme, which we hope to approve early next year, as our contribution,” said Cllr Jones. “This will bring the total pot up to close on £26m which underlines how serious we are on this issue.
“Together with our partners, we recognise that access to digital services is absolutely essential to the development of the economy of East Sussex.
“If we don’t get this right, we risk being left behind other parts of the south east that have a much better broadband infrastructure.
“This would hurt us in terms of economic growth, inward investment and access to learning, skills and employment.
“We are well on the way to finalising our Local Broadband Plan and will be able to meet the Government’s accelerated deadline of February next year to present the plan to BDUK,” said Cllr Jones.
“Over the coming weeks and months we will be actively engaging with our communities to enlist their help and support in getting superfast broadband for the whole of our county as soon as possible.”