90 miles of fibre cable laid in first four months
Over 10,000 homes and businesses can now connect to faster broadband - as the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme nears the end of its first four months of action.
Just 18 weeks since the first green roadside cabinets were switched on, residents and business owners in over 790 postcodes can now order the new broadband technology.
It’s all part of a multi million pound partnership between Suffolk County Council, BT and the Government to make high-speed fibre broadband more widely available throughout the county, especially in rural areas.
This is just the early stages of this major programme. Suffolk County Council has committed to ensuring that by the end of 2015, every property in Suffolk has access to broadband speeds of at least 2 megabits per second (Mbps) while 85 per cent of homes and businesses will be able to benefit from superfast speeds (24Mbps or more).
Every three months between now and the end of 2015, approximately 10,000 more properties will be given access to better broadband.
The partnership is building on BT’s existing commercial plans, which have already made fibre broadband available to around 200,000 Suffolk premises.
Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council’s leader and chair of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme, said:
“Giving over 10,000 properties access to faster broadband in just four months is a significant achievement and very much demonstrates the great things to come from the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme.
“Faster broadband will boost Suffolk’s economy, help us to attract new businesses to the county and create new jobs. It will also make it far easier for residents to access the internet and the benefits it can offer.
“I’m tremendously proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time and look forward to seeing the rollout completed within the next two years.”
The new technology provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps, with the potential for even faster speeds in the future.
Businesses in these areas will be able to work faster and more efficiently. Having fibre broadband means users are able to run multiple, bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and send and receive large amounts of data faster. Computer systems will be easier to back up and high quality video conferencing will become more commonplace.
Suffolk County Council estimates that over the next 15 years, the project will provide a £2 billion boost to the local economy and will create 1,500 jobs.
Residents can also enjoy a boost in speeds for home entertainment. They will able to simultaneously download movies, transfer files, watch TV replays, surf the internet and play online games.
Downloading a whole music album could take them less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director next generation access, said: ““It is a fantastic achievement that so many people in Suffolk are already seeing the benefits of this programme, within the first 12 months of this contract being signed. By the end of this year we will have switched on 47 new fibre cabinets. This investment in fibre broadband will boost the local economy and help to create or protect local jobs both in communities across the whole of Suffolk. It will be of enormous benefit to local businesses which can use the faster speeds to improve their competitiveness both within the UK and abroad.”
Better Broadband map improved
The team working to deliver the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme has improved the online map which details when each area will benefit.
Published today, the new colour-coded and interactive map breaks down the programme on a postcode by postcode basis, giving a far more accurate and localised picture. Before, the map could only go down to parish level, most of which are covered by several different postcodes.
It follows a specific request by Suffolk County Council’s Scrutiny Committee to improve the quality of programme information that is available to the public.
The new map, along with the postcode and line checker, is available on the Better Broadband for Suffolk website: www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com
The roadside fibre broadband cabinets that are being connected to the new network serve very localised areas so not all parts of the towns and villages where they are located will be able to receive fibre broadband initially. As the service becomes increasingly available, people will be able to use the Better Broadband for Suffolk website to check whether their home or business can receive better broadband services.
Notes to editors
Better Broadband for Suffolk programme
The Better Broadband for Suffolk programme is a partnership between Suffolk County Council and BT and the government to create for Suffolk a broadband network fit for the twenty first century.
By the end of 2015, Suffolk County Council is committed to ensuring that every property in Suffolk has access to broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps. The project will also build on BT and other providers’ existing commercial investment in the county to provide superfast broadband speeds of 24Mbps+ to 85% of homes and businesses. By March 2014, all properties in the Waveney Local Enterprise Zones will have access to Superfast Broadband (24Mbps+). Homes and businesses across the county that are harder to reach with a fixed fibre line will be connected using alternative broadband technologies.
In total, over £40 million is going to be invested in Suffolk's broadband network over the next 15 years. Suffolk County Council and the county's seven district and borough councils are collectively investing £11.68 million in the programme, matched by £11.68 million from Government (Broadband Delivery UK) and £18m from BT.
Suffolk County Council and BT signed a contract on 21 December 2012, creating a partnership for the organisations to work together to revolutionise broadband access in Suffolk.
BT’s network is open to all internet service providers on an equal, wholesale basis, ensuring Suffolk’s homes and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market, in turn bringing greater choice and affordable prices.
Delivering the project will help local businesses grow, improve educational attainment and remove a major block to public service transformation in Suffolk. Suffolk County Council estimates that public sector organisations will be able to achieve £49 million of efficiency savings within 15 years as a result of better access to broadband, that local economy will grow by £2 billion and 1,500 jobs will be created.