Broadband News

Local Full Fibre Network funding network upgrades for West Sussex Council

The LFFN (Local Full Fibre Network) programme is very different to the BDUK process, if one can complain that the BDUK system was setup to benefit BT then the LFFN can be said to be a subsidy to cash strapped councils across the UK to perform much needed upgrades to their digital infrastructure with CityFibre ideally placed to win lots of the contracts.

The first contract under the LFFN scheme has gone to CityFibre and is in the West Sussex council area and will allow CityFibre to build an extensive metro fibre network as it links up 152 council sites in places such as Bognor Regis, Burgess Hill, Chichester, Crawley, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Littlehampton, Shoreham and Worthing.

The contact is valued at £5.7m or you could say £37,500 per site connected and people might notice work starting during August with completition anticipated in early 2019. The key part is that there is a 4 year framework (30 year Indefeasible Rights of Use), with a lifetime value of £52 million, so if CityFibre manages things correctly the LFFN funding will pay a lot of the construction costs with the on-going framework generating income even if their is minimal use of the network by businesses, i.e. the council are the key anchor tenant.

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.

Margot James, Minister for Digital

For those living in the areas and none of the places jump out at us as being very badly served by broadband today this contract does nothing to guarantee a future fibre to the home roll-out, speculating it is possible that maybe Worthing or Crawley might surface in the 1 million premises Vodafone is planning.

Hopefully residents may see better digital services from the council and if the on-going framework delivers cost savings compared to the existing contracts they have then the upgrades will be very welcome, but for sure this is going to upset those in rural areas still waiting on something better than exchange based ADSL/ADSL2+ services and outside the reach of local fixed wireless providers who see their council tax bills increasing at a similar rate to the number of pot holes appearing in the roads.

The press release arrived on Thursday morning in our inbox, but with all the broadband coverage changes and preparation for the end of the month speed test analysis pushing the keys on the keyboard to publish this item took a little longer than usual.

Update 2pm: Correction, the framework period is 4 years not 30 as previously stated, 30 years refers to Indefeasible Rights of Use. The Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRU) is a different way of buying dark fibre compared to traditional leasing, in the leased model the agreement is split into monthly or annual payments across the term, in the situation of an IRU there is usually an upfront payment with smaller annual charges.

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