West Sussex businesses to benefit from free connection to better, faster broadband

West Sussex businesses to benefit from free connection to better, faster broadband


Eligible businesses in West Sussex can now apply for a connection voucher worth up to £3,000 towards the cost of upgrading to superfast broadband. 

A connection voucher scheme being administered by Brighton and Hove City Council has now been extended to West Sussex.

Connection vouchers will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis until March 31st 2016. The vouchers are available to any eligible organisation, and can cover both fixed broadband solutions (usually a fibre connection), or wireless solutions, where fibre is not available.

David Barling, West Sussex Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, said: “West Sussex has many small enterprises and businesses run from home, particularly in the more rural areas, and we want to support these businesses be able to compete in an increasingly global economy. The connection vouchers scheme supports our own publicly funded roll out of broadband infrastructure and will provide financial help to those businesses that need access to superfast broadband immediately.”

Whilst there are more than 700 suppliers registered nationally with the scheme, not all will be delivering services in the county. West Sussex has a number of local registered suppliers including 5 Rings Telecom based at Lancing Business Park.

Peter Raynsford, Director of 5 Rings Telecom said: “The financial benefits of the scheme are substantial and we’ve worked closely with Brighton and Hove City Council to design a very simple ordering process for customers.
In terms of the business benefits, we’re encouraging customers to view these new fibre services as ‘business enablers’. Yes, you get faster internet speeds but we’re also delivering key services such as cloud-based telephony over fibre. This opens up a huge range of benefits and efficiencies for businesses that they may not have previously considered.

“If there are businesses out there that haven’t explored this scheme yet then we’d encourage them to do so as soon as possible.”

Interested businesses can find out more about the scheme and check their eligibility to apply for a voucher at: https://www.connectionvouchers.co.uk

The connection voucher scheme complements the County Council’s publicly-funded roll out of broadband infrastructure. So far, more than 35,000 premises are able to upgrade to faster fibre broadband as a result of the roll out which is set to achieve more than 90% coverage of ‘superfast’ broadband across West Sussex by spring 2016.

West Sussex County Council and BT has agreed a further contract to benefit more than 3,000 more homes and businesses across West Sussex by the end of 2017.

An additional £2.5 million of investment by West Sussex County Council central government with additional funding of £0.5million by BT will extend the rollout of ‘superfast’ fibre broadband to reach 95% of the county.

David added: “The additional funding will ensure we meet the government’s new target of 95% coverage of the UK by ‘superfast’ broadband by the end of 2017. However we recognise that more work needs to be done to provide comprehensive coverage of broadband services in our county due to the local geographical and network challenges we face. The government has articulated an ambition to increase coverage across ‘nearly all’ of the UK and we wait to hear further details about this may be achieved, and funded.”

People wanting to find out if fibre broadband is in their area should enter their phone number or postcode in the checker on the Better Connected website: http://www.westsussex-betterconnected.org.uk