The £30 million second phase of the Superfast Suffolk partnership has already made superfast broadband available to more than 10,000 households and businesses, it was announced today.
Suffolk was the first area of the UK to formally agree a second contract as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. The latest deal between Suffolk County Council and BT will see Openreach, BT’s local network business extend superfast broadband coverage to more than 95 per cent of Suffolk properties before the end of 2019.
Fifty thousand households and businesses will get access to faster broadband speeds as a result of the second phase, on top of the 105,000 properties Openreach delivered in the first phase of the programme, which took fibre broadband coverage to 85 per cent of the county by the end of last year.
Whilst delivery of the first contract focused on the installation and upgrading of green superfast broadband cabinets in communities around Suffolk, the second contract will deliver faster broadband through a wider range of technologies, including ultrafast Fibre to the Premises (FTTP).
Technologies, such as satellite, are available for Suffolk properties getting broadband speeds of 2Mbps or less where it is not yet viable to deliver fibre broadband.
A new superfast broadband cabinet in Eye was the first in the UK to be delivered under the second round of the BDUK programme, so another first for Suffolk!
Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Broadband and Rural Issues and Localities, Cllr Jane Storey, said: “There are now around a further 115,000 properties that can benefit from superfast broadband, thanks to this programme, if they choose to upgrade. I am very proud that the first contract was delivered ahead of schedule, and extended fibre broadband to an additional 5,000 properties beyond the original plan. I look forward to seeing more and more residents switch to superfast broadband as part of the rollout of this second contract.
“There is additional capacity and funding in place to explore how we can achieve rolling out connections to more properties across Suffolk and I look forward to sharing news on this innovation as soon as we are able to.”
To check if your property can now access superfast broadband, visit the website at www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com and check your area for coverage. The roll out is ongoing and Suffolk County Council is committed to delivering 100 per cent coverage as quickly as possible.
The switch to superfast broadband will not be automatic. Each household or business will need to contact its broadband service provider in order to upgrade.
Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock, said: "Together with Suffolk County Council, we are investing around £70m in superfast broadband for Suffolk, and we've already taken superfast speeds to more than 100,000 local homes and businesses who would otherwise have missed out. We know there is more to do, and the latest deal will reach 50,000 more, bringing Superfast Broadband to 95 per cent in Suffolk and give immediate help to those homes and businesses with the slowest speeds.
"Almost nine out of ten homes in Suffolk can already access superfast broadband. And the more people who take up high speed broadband, the more money gets ploughed back into spreading high speed broadband. So I'd urge everyone who can to sign up to superfast broadband, and help get our county connected."
Member of Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Dr Dan Poulter, said: “The news that Suffolk is the first area of the UK to formally agree a second contract as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK Programme is of course to be welcomed, alongside the commitment of Suffolk County Council and BT to provide superfast broadband to over 95 per cent of households and businesses across Suffolk before 2019. I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Suffolk County Council and BT to ensure the continued success of this programme.”
Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement that this second contract is already well underway. This demonstrates the strength of the partnership between Suffolk County Council, the Government's BDUK programme, Openreach and BT, as well as the determination of the people working on the programme. We’re committed to continuing to working closely together to deliver the next stages of the rollout to reach even more homes and businesses. When our own commercial fibre broadband programme is also included, it means that around 320,000 Suffolk homes and businesses now have access to high speed fibre broadband.”
All of the engineering work as part of Better Broadband for Suffolk is being carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business. This means residents and businesses with access to fibre broadband can choose from a wide range of internet service providers and benefit from competitive pricing and products.