Plans to see West Sussex as a Gigabit County

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West Sussex UK Moot County-Wide 1Gbps Fibre Optic Broadband Roll-out | ISP Review

My Comments

There are plans to make West Sussex a “Gigabit County” where there is ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises broadband in the order of 1Gbps or similar available to every premises across that county.

They initially want to start work on this in Adur & Worthing by deploying a “dark fibre” network in that area. The West Sussex county council and the Adur & Worthing local council are behind this effort as a way to see improved productivity for businesses and local government, with an inherent desire to invest in that county plus the volumetric increase in business rates. But this could also affect the value of residential property across the board due to fibre-optic broadband being considered a deciding factor for home purchasing.

But it is being seen as an aspirational idea especially if the whole of the county is to be covered. It is very similar to how some towns in the UK are seeing themselves as “Gigabit” towns due to availability of Gigabit-throughput next-generation broadbad; along with New Zealand seeing itself as a GigNation due to Chorus offering Gigabit next-generation broadband across most of the major urban areas who have their FTTP infrastructure. Here, you could be thinking of issues like covering West Sussex’s rural areas or even getting other local authorities on board in that county to establish similar infrastructure.

The major idea with this project would be to maintain the local councils, in this case Adur & Worthing, as an anchor tenant who would be the main user of this infrastructure. They use the reference to a shopping centre having a few large stores like supermarkets or department stores as their “anchor tenants” who catch most of the centre’s traffic and supply the lion’s share of the rental income. But they also want to have this infrastructure made available to businesses who need the high-throughput network and Internet connectivity to connect their premises. Another driver would be to have the public-service offers for the UK’s central government come on board for this infrastructure.

One idea that was achieved with a fibre rollout in York was to have a large ISP like Sky Broadband or TalkTalk providing Internet service to customers using this infrastructure, with this being viewed as a way to provide retail Internet service in this area. Personally, I would look towards having multiple ISPs have access to the infrastructure to sell their Internet service to their customers so as to allow for retail-level competition.

Here, you could also think of services like Hyperoptic or Gigaclear who are providing “focused” coverage in to particular areas like multiple-dwelling units in the case of Hyperoptic or rural villages in the case of Gigaclear.

The rollout could begin in UK Spring 2017, and take 12 months to complete for the local council’s sites. But, after this rollout, they also want to see a continual deployment over the whole of West Sussex.

These kind of rollouts will be needing to involve public money with an encouragement for them to benefit the public purse through efficiency improvements. But they will also be about providing affordable high-throughput Internet service for households and businesses as long as there is real sustainable competition.

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