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Better Broadband for Suffolk programme passes the three quarter mark in fibre broadband roll-out

Press release   •   Mar 17, 2015 00:00 GMT

More than 75,000 households and businesses in the county now have access to high-speed technology thanks to partnership

More than 75,000 homes and businesses across Suffolk can now connect to high speed fibre broadband thanks to the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme, which continues to roll out the sophisticated technology to rural communities. The programme is now over three quarters complete and is on course to meet the aim of making fibre broadband available to 100,000 premises by the end of 2015.

Providing fibre broadband to rural communities is at the heart of the County Council’s economic growth strategy. As a result of faster speeds, businesses can work more efficiently and effectively, sending and receiving large amounts of data, whilst households are able to run many, bandwidth-hungry applications all at the same time for online learning, research and entertainment

Councillor Mark Bee, Leader of Suffolk County Council and Chair of the Better Broadband for Suffolk Programme, said: “Superfast broadband has the power to transform the way local businesses and residents use technology on a daily basis.

“We are ploughing ahead and hitting significant milestones in the programme and it is vitally important that people who now have access to increased speeds and superfast fibre, take the opportunity to upgrade to these new services. We are placing particular emphasis on our rural ‘fibre to the premises’ upgrades, connecting fibre directly to properties that are unable to be served by green cabinets.

“To check if your property can access superfast broadband, visit the website at www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com and check your area for coverage. Our roll out is ongoing and so please do not panic if you do not access just yet. The County Council is committed to delivering 100% coverage as quickly as we possibly can.”

Customer take-up passes 20 per cent mark
With so many communities across Suffolk now able to connect to high speed broadband, businesses and residents are taking full advantage. More than 20 per cent of households and businesses in Suffolk which have access to fibre broadband thanks to the programme, have placed an order to connect to the new services, and are experiencing increased speeds. Importantly, now that the 20 per cent threshold has been passed, the contract provides funding for Suffolk County Council to reinvest in the programme in the future to pay for further connections, including finding innovative solutions for those premises that are the hardest to reach."

Councillor Mark Bee said: “The fact that the 20 per cent threshold has now been passed is great news. In some parts of Suffolk more than half of all households and businesses who could get fibre broadband have already taken up the technology. This demonstrates that there is a clear need for improved service and justifies the level of investment.”

Suffolk County Council has committed to ensuring that by the end of the first phase of the programme, every property in Suffolk will have 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) by the end of 2015.

Suffolk was the first county in the UK to sign its second BDUK contract, in October 2014, committing to further investment to ensure 95 per cent of premises will be able to access the high-speed open network by early 2018. Work is already underway to find solutions to serve the remaining 5 per cent.

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for next generation access said, “The Better Broadband for Suffolk programme is making strong progress, bringing high-speed fibre broadband to some of the most challenging areas in the county. The programme shows the power of the public and private sectors working together.

“BT has brought technical expertise to the table as well as millions of pounds of investment. This exciting technology is providing a major boost for local households and businesses in Suffolk, whether they are using it to work more efficiently and find new customers or for online learning and leisure.”


ENDS

Notes to editors

Better Broadband for Suffolk programme
Better Broadband for Suffolk is a multi-million pound partnership between Suffolk County Council, Suffolk’s seven district and borough councils, BT and the Government to extend the availability of high-speed fibre broadband throughout the county, especially in rural areas. The partnership is building on BT’s existing commercial plans, which have already made fibre broadband available to around 200,000 Suffolk premises.

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.