Parish council has Sussex broadband rollout complaint  header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

A Sussex parish council is unhappy with the progress of the scheme designed to bring super-fast broadband to the county. 

The e-Sussex rural broadband project aims to ensure 100 per cent of the region has access to improved connectivity by 2017, but Brightling Parish Council has claimed this goal "appears to have become a vague aspiration with no plan or funding", the Rye and Battle Observer reports. 

Its unhappiness with the scheme stems from comments made by East Sussex County Council in 2011, in which the authority pledged to provide universal super-fast broadband coverage within two years. 

Andrews Wedmore, Brightling Parish Council chairman, told the newspaper: "They are now saying that they are going to deliver high-speed broadband to 96 percent of the county by sometime in 2016 - three years late and, crucially, not covering everyone."

Mr Wedmore said improving connectivity in remote areas was meant to be the primary aim of the project, but he believes this has now been overlooked as BT - which is carrying out the scheme - is prioritising areas that are more commercially viable. 

The parish council leader claimed better broadband is needed if businesses are to stay in the countryside and help the local economy thrive.

A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council defended the e-Sussex project, telling the newspaper its aim of bringing super-fast speeds to 96 per cent of the region is better than many other local authorities that are planning to achieve coverage of just 80 per cent.

"This is a huge engineering project that will cover more than 65,000 premises and it takes time to reach everyone," they stated.

The situation in Sussex is not uncommon throughout the UK, with many rural communities unsure of how they will benefit from the rollout of super-fast services. People in such areas may want to consider switching to satellite broadband, which is available now and can deliver speeds well above the current average for rural areas.