Public buildings in Horsham are to benefit from the fastest and most reliable broadband connectivity, as councils go ‘gigabit’.
Thanks to collaboration between the county’s local authorities, supported by funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, gigabit-capable broadband services are being built in key locations throughout the district.
Construction has started with every effort being made to minimise disruption, however this will be unavoidable in some areas.
The work will typically involve digging a trench in the road or footpath and installing ducting for the fibre-optic cables. Some new underground chambers will also be installed as part of the excavations and then the surface will be made good. Safety barriers will be in place for the protection of the public and workforce.
The intention is for the majority of the work to be carried out between 9am and 5pm, although some evening/night-time work will be needed in non-residential areas. Some road closures will also be required.
The network is built, owned and operated by CityFibre, the UK’s leading provider of wholesale full fibre infrastructure. With no reliance on copper wires, pure fibre networks are the next generation of digital infrastructure, capable of delivering unlimited speeds in both directions in excess of 1Gbps (1,000 Mbps).
Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council are collectively future-proofing their digital connectivity to meet their public services’ future needs. The new network will provide fibre connectivity to key buildings in the district.
Welcoming the project and the benefits that this new fibre connectivity will bring to Horsham District, Leader of Horsham District Council, Cllr Ray Dawe, said: “This is great news and, as a council, we are very happy to be working with West Sussex County Council to support this key project.
“It very much feeds in to our ambition to being a leading light in the digital arena and will bring considerable benefits to businesses and communities alike.
“The cable-laying work will be carried out as quickly as possible and every effort is being made to try to keep disruption to a minimum. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused.”
Bob Lanzer, county council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “All of us are enthusiastic about driving forward full fibre connectivity. I am delighted that we will have access to a bespoke optical fibre network that is designed, installed, supported and maintained for our public services.”
The cutting-edge technology will ensure that the services and daily business of the county’s councils will be able to be more resilient, reliable and at less risk of delay or disruption caused by poor or limited connectivity.
The government’s ambition is to accelerate the deployment of full fibre across the UK, to remain globally competitive and position the country as a front-runner in the race to mobile 5G technology, which requires full fibre backhaul.
Minister for Digital, Margot James, said: “Our programme will deliver a tremendous boost to broadband speeds for the councils of West Sussex as part of our £190m full-fibre challenge fund. Initiatives like these are transforming the digital landscape of the UK, helping us to build a Britain that is fit for the future.”
The infrastructure will be built at sites managed by WSCC and HDC and includes public sector buildings at: Parkside, Chart Way, The Capitol, Horsham Museum and Art Gallery and Hop Oast Depot.