East Sussex County Council is calling on the private sector to provide additional funding for the region’s broadband system, after revealing that the government cash from BDUK would not cover the costs.
Initial plans, which will see improved broadband connectivity throughout the East Sussex region, suggest that the scheme will cost between £50 and £100 million.
However, East Sussex County Council have only received £10 million from BDUK towards the cost of the initial infrastructure and maintenance and improvements over the lifetime of the broadband system. The council will contribute £15 million of its own funds towards the project and is also planning to apply to the EU, but there is still likely to be a significant shortfall that only the private sector can make up.
BDUK is a nationwide scheme which aims to have broadband internet access in 90% of homes and businesses by the year 2015, as well as improving the connection speed in areas which already have broadband access. Although the government has provided over £700 million of funding towards the project, this has to be split between the whole UK, and some rural regions require more assistance than others.
According to a recent survey by uSwitch, many of Britain’s towns and cities still have a broadband connection speed of less than 5Mbps. The slowest broadband speed in the whole country is in the East Sussex town of Winchelsea, whose computer users have to struggle with a frustrating connection speed of just 1.1 Mbps.
When it comes to larger communities, Hereford has the slowest broadband of any town with a population of over 40,000 with a broadband connection of 3.2 Mbps, the same as Kilmarnock in Ayrshire. Many rural areas have slower broadband connections or no broadband at all, which is why government and private sector funding is needed to roll out the BDUK scheme across the country.