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First places in Suffolk to get broadband boost three months early thanks to broadband project

Press Release   •   Aug 06, 2013 00:00 BST

‘More than 2,500 homes and businesses in 16 locations will have access by the end of September 2013 

More than 2,500 homes and businesses across Suffolk will be the first to benefit from a multi million pound partnership between Suffolk County Council, BT and the Government to make high-speed fibre broadband more widely available in the county.

Three months ahead of schedule, properties in 16 Suffolk communities will, by the end of September, be able to order the new broadband technology.

The early broadband boost has been achieved by engineers identifying areas where BT’s existing fibre infrastructure could be extended quickly.

The partnership is building on BT’s commercial plans, which already aims to make fibre broadband available to around 200,000 Suffolk premises.

Work is already well underway meaning properties in and around parts of Lowestoft, Belstead, Kesgrave, Hadleigh, Whatfield, Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket, Sudbury, Felixstowe and on the Suffolk-Essex border near Manningtree will benefit early.

Some homes and businesses in Lowestoft, Belstead and Stowmarket can already place orders. The new technology provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps2 and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps2, 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 videoconferencing 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.

This is just the start of the major programme. By the end of 2013, around 10,000 properties will have access to the new technology thanks to the programme. Suffolk County Council is committed to ensuring that by the end of 2015 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 and above to 85 per cent of homes and businesses.

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 check whether their home or business can receive better broadband services as a result via the Better Broadband for Suffolk website (www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com).

Ed Vaizey, communications minister, said: “Suffolk, along with the rest of the UK, is undergoing a remarkable transformation of Broadband and it’s fantastic to hear that the first 16 locations in the county will have access to superfast speeds by the end of September, three months ahead of schedule. With around 10,000 Suffolk homes and businesses due to benefit from superfast availability by the end of 2013, this project will provide a huge boost to the local economy and be instrumental in driving growth.”

Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council’s leader and chair of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme, said: “Switching on the first cabinets is a truly significant milestone in the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme and is very much the start of great things to come.

“Faster broadband will boost Suffolk’s economy, help us to attract new businesses to the county and create new jobs. It will also make accessing the internet far easier for people

“I’m immensely 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 and a half years.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director next generation access, said: “It is a fantastic achievement that people in Suffolk are already seeing the benefits of this programme. This investment in fibre broadband will boost the local economy and help to create or protect local jobs both in communities like Lowestoft and 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.”

The Better Broadband for Suffolk programme will revolutionise access across the county with more than 400 new roadside fibre cabinets being installed in Suffolk by the end of 2015.

BT’s network is open to all service providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Suffolk consumers and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market.

For more information about the Better Broadband Suffolk programme, visit www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com/

ENDS

Notes to editors

Premises which are set to be able to receive services made possible by the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme between August and September are in the vicinity of:

  • Weston Road; Cotmer Rd; Mayfield Road, Lowestoft
    • Riverside Ind Park; Old Wherstead Road, Belstead
    • Edmonton Road, Kesgrave
    • Lady Lane; Whatfield, Hadleigh
    • Springfield Road; Moreton Ind Est; Buttermarket area, Bury St Edmunds
    • Creeting Road, Stowmarket
    • Lucas Rd, Sudbury
    • Gainsborough Road, Felixstowe
    • School Lane, Brantham
    • The Street, Bramford

Please note that not all homes and businesses in the towns and villages listed above will receive better broadband services from these cabinets. To find out if a specific property is connected to one of these cabinets, visit www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com/ and use the online line checker.

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.