Digital infrastructure in rural parts of Greater Brighton are set to be boosted after Mid Sussex District Council and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership secured £3.2 million from the Government.

Internet speeds away from large urban areas are often a lot slower because it is a much less profitable area for private companies to install the latest gigabit capable full fibre broadband.

But the government grant could change that, helping stimulate the market and making towns and villages much more attractive places to invest.

Mid Sussex District Council is already working on a project to deliver gigabit capable full fibre broadband in Burgess Hill after securing £2.2 million from the Government’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) fund.

The new additional funding secured for the Digital Sussex Rural Connectivity Programme will accelerate the delivery of gigabit capable connections in the surrounding towns and villages.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council and Greater Brighton member, said: “With so many people working from home at the minute due to the coronavirus pandemic, the benefits of a fast broadband connection have never been more apparent.

“The need for faster digital connectivity is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years and gigabit capable broadband will be essential if our local companies in rural areas are to compete on a level footing with businesses based in big towns and cities.

“With this infrastructure investment, our businesses will be able compete internationally, improve their online services and save money by using digital technologies to work in more efficient and environmentally friendly ways.

“The investment we have secured for Burgess Hill and now the surrounding rural areas is tremendously exciting and will make Mid Sussex one of the most attractive areas in the South East for private companies to invest.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said: “We are delighted to have received a £19.2 million contribution from government as part of the new Getting Building Fund for a wide-ranging package of projects that will deliver a much-needed boost to the local economy. We are looking forward to seeing the details of the plan and working closely with Mid Sussex District Council on the next steps.”

This project is subject to full business case submission and approvals via relevant governance arrangements.

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