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Bexley bids for better broadband

PUBLISHED: 17:05 05 February 2018

Cllr Linda Bailey

Cllr Linda Bailey

Archant

Bexley has submitted a bid to improve Bexley broadband, as part of its new digital infrastructure plan.

The bid, made to the Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport, supports the creation of a new £7m private fibre network, and a further £1m for a voucher scheme, designed to help enable local and future businesses to be able to access ultra-fast, gigabit broadband services.

It would provide ultrafast broadband connectivity between a network of public buildings across the borough, and the capacity to provide gigabit broadband services for many local businesses and residents.

It comes as part of the council’s plan to work with public and private partners in order to bring about a step-change in ultra-fast fixed and mobile digital services, which will help make Bexley a preferred borough for investment.

Cllr Don Massey, deputy leader of the council, said: “The bid is part of our ambitious plans to provide Bexley with the very latest gigabit digital infrastructure.

“Not only that, it will save money and improve the delivery of public services for years to come.”

The bid has been made jointly with the Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group (Bexley CCG) and, if successful, the private network will link around 300 buildings, including libraries, council offices, CCTV sites and GP surgeries.

Bexley’s digital plan has four elements: digital ‘in fill’, to help most existing homes in Bexley to have access to ultra-fast broadband; ensuring that all new developments are built with access to a choice of ultra-fast broadband infrastructure providers; the creation of a new Bexley Growth ‘fibre’ network for public buildings and businesses and a borough-wide coverage of high-speed wireless and mobile services.

Cllr Linda Bailey, cabinet member for regeneration and growth, said: “This bid is part of our ambitious plans to improve the borough’s broadband connectivity.”

The council has bid for £5m in government grant, which would be matched by around £3m of public funding.

If the bid is successful, work would begin immediately to procure the new network during 2018/19.

When completed, both the council and the CCG will benefit from significantly reduced connectivity costs, as well as having massively improved bandwidth with the availability of gigabit speeds.

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