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Full fibre pilot for Sussex is good news

18 September 2017

A government-backed pilot in West Sussex to test out fibre direct to premises means businesses can seriously consider much faster connection speeds in the future.

The government has announced that West Sussex is one of six areas to benefit from a £10 million fund to help test innovative ways to implement full fibre and provide connection speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Until now, most fibre broadband connections only go as far as the street cabinet. There’s still a copper connection from the cabinet to the customer’s premises enabling service providers to offer downstream speeds of up to 40Mbps.

The only way to get a much faster connection at the moment is to rent a leased line direct from the telephone exchange. However, these fibre connections often take time to install whilst securing permission from land owners and local authorities to dig ducts and lay cabling can take months. Any business considering a leased line takes the risk that a “wayleave” may not be granted thereby ruining their expansion plans.

The six pilots offer real hope that much faster connections are a possibility in the near future without the hassle and expense of renting a leased line. It’s the first step in a £200 million programme announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer intended to stimulate the broadband market and encourage the growth of full fibre across the UK.

Plan ahead

Gary Jowett from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton says: “The West Sussex pilot is likely to increase the overall demand for much faster broadband connections in the region. The prospect of much higher speeds means businesses need to plan ahead for a time when their customers’ and partners’ expectations will be very different. A much broader digital highway will lead to more traffic passing to and from your business at greater speed and volume so your IT systems, data storage and security need to be up to the job.”

While full fibre services may not be available to your business immediately, if you’re considering moving to a new site soon – or improving the speed of your existing broadband connections – it’s worthwhile speaking to an independent IT consultant who can help you evaluate all the options.

The good news is that 1Gbps connectivity across the country is already a realistic prospect. Openreach announced in the summer it wants to connect 10 million premises to full fibre by 2025.

The hope for businesses in Sussex and across the South East is that the government-backed pilot will build the momentum for an even faster and wider expansion of full fibre.

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