A proposal for Government investment in full fibre broadband infrastructure in Mid Sussex was today received by the Minister of State for Digital, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, on a visit to the district. The Minister met with Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames and Council Leaders.
Mid Sussex District Council is determined to ensure that new housing and commercial developments in the district and accompanied by modern digital infrastructure, as well as more traditional types of infrastructure.
The Council has created a proposal to roll out its own ‘dig once’ full fibre programme using the housing growth planned for the district, especially around Burgess Hill. A bid of £1.4million has been submitted to the Government's Local Full Fibre Broadband Fund which will enable fibre capacity to be increased and links to exchanges in Brighton to be created.
Importantly, the innovative proposal would see the fibre infrastructure held in a community trust for the benefit of local residents and businesses, rather than being owned by major media companies, which will lower costs for service users. With Government support, such an approach could eventually be rolled out across the country.
Sir Nicholas Soames MP said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister to Mid Sussex to make the case for Government funding for digital connectivity. I’m very grateful to him for agreeing to take away and strongly consider the Council’s proposals, which I fully endorse. The area is seeing significant housing and commercial growth and it is essential that all types of infrastructure are provided to meet the needs of a growing and modern district”.
Councillor Garry Wall, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council, said: “Mid Sussex has already been successful in bidding for Government funding for a range of infrastructure projects to support the area’s growth, which we want to see continue. The Minister’s visit demonstrates that, with the support of our local MPs, the Council is making a strong case for investment in Mid Sussex”.
Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Deputy Leader of Mid Sussex District Council, said: “Businesses regularly tell us that faster and more reliable broadband is a priority and we are keen to see improved digital capacity and connectivity in the district to support economic growth”.