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Greater Brighton must 'get the basics right' before it can be a 5G region

Wednesday, September 23rd 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A business owner says basic broadband and mobile services in Greater Brighton need to improve before the region starts promising superfast speeds and 5G connectivity.

The Greater Brighton Economic Board last week submitted a ‘devolution prospectus’ to communities secretary Greg Clark as part of its efforts to get more powers for the region.

The bid included proposals to make Greater Brighton the UK’s first 5G region and to make superfast broadband available to every home and business in the area.

But Andy, who runs an IT consultancy business in Lewes, said the region needs to “get the basics right first”.

He told Cable.co.uk: “5G sounds great but I think they should walk before they can run.

“The reality is that there are thousands of people and businesses in ‘Greater Brighton’ with weak 2G mobile coverage and less than 1Mbps broadband.

“They need to get real.”

At home he struggles with average broadband speeds of 0.9Mbps, he said.

“I run a small business and planned to run my business from an office at home.

“This also allows flexible childcare, better work/life balance, lower costs etc.

“However, I’m forced to rent offices because of very poor broadband coverage at my home address.”

'No mobile coverage'

He said not being able to work from home makes giving out-of-hours IT support more difficult.

“My customers complain about slow responses because I cannot fix IT support issues as quickly because of slow broadband.”

Andy lives in Kingston near Lewes, a village eight miles from central Brighton and a mile from Lewes, and said the fibre upgrade of his local broadband street cabinet has been delayed more than once by the local BDUK project.

“Go e-Sussex have delayed the rollout time and time again. It was originally scheduled for 2014, then 2015, then summer 2015,” he said.

“Now it’s scheduled for rollout by 30 September 2015 but I have not seen any works in progress so I don’t hold out much hope on their plan.”

Andy said poor connectivity is having a “significant impact” on his business and life, with poor mobile coverage compounding his broadband problems.

“It is 2G reliably and 3G intermittently in different parts of my house. There are parts of Kingston village with no mobile coverage whatsoever.”

Cable.co.uk has approached the Greater Brighton Economic Board for comment.

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