Suffolk County Council has announced that it has started the second round of superfast broadband deployment ahead of schedule. The £30m contract with BT is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and the aim is to extend coverage of superfast broadband to 95 per cent of Suffolk premises by 2019, as the next major step in the council’s plans towards full coverage by 2020.
The start of the second-round deployment was marked with a new superfast broadband cabinet in Eye becoming ready for service - this cabinet was one of the first in the UK to be delivered under the second round of the BDUK programme.
Details of the coverage planned up until September 2016 have now been released on the Better Broadband for Suffolk website at: www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com. Details of coverage planned for later phases are being finalised. Community meetings are being planned across the county from early next year to share plans with local communities, and to get input from residents, landowners and businesses on how to extend coverage in their areas as far as possible.
Suffolk County Council is also pleased to announce the public launch of a basic broadband service to fulfil the Government’s commitment that everyone should have the option of access to a broadband service of at least 2Mbps by the end of 2015. The scheme, providing broadband by satellite, has been trialled in Suffolk over the last few months ahead of today’s public launch. It is intended as an interim solution for businesses and homes that currently get less than 2Mbps, and which are not included in the planned coverage in the next 12 months.Eligible people can now apply for a voucher to cover the initial installation and commissioning costs of a satellite broadband receiver.A guide and application form for the satellite broadband scheme can be found on the Better Broadband for Suffolk website at www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com.
Suffolk County Council is also supporting BT’s ‘Never Say No’ community fibre broadband scheme. As the second-round rollout continues, those areas where connections will be a challenge will be contacted to discuss the options open to them.Further information on this is available at www.communityfibre.bt.com.
The first round of broadband deployment under the Better Broadband for Suffolk Programme was completed in September 2015. It has made fibre broadband available to 105,000 more premises in the county, bringing total coverage so far to around 85 per cent of premises in Suffolk. This programme of work was delivered ahead of schedule, and extended fibre broadband to an additional 5,000 properties beyond the original plan.
Suffolk County Council’s Leader, Cllr Colin Noble, said: “It is important for all residents and businesses to understand that where high speed broadband service is available, they must contact their service provider to make the switch. It is not an automatic process. The Better Broadband for Suffolk website lists the areas now offering faster speeds so I would urge anyone who is interested in upgrading to check the website and contact their provider.
“I am very proud that Suffolk is leading the way to deliver our communities high speed broadband connections. Our commitment remains to deliver Superfast Broadband to everyone in Suffolk as quickly as we can.”
Dave Hughes, BT’s Regional Director for the East of England, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement that we’ve delivered this contract early and that we’ve made Superfast Broadband available to more homes and businesses than originally planned. This demonstrates the strength of the partnership between BT and Suffolk County Council, as well as the determination of the people working on the programme, and we’ll continue working well together to deliver the next stages of the rollout to reach even more properties. When BT’s own commercial fibre broadband programme is also included, it means that around 300,000 Suffolk homes and businesses now have access to this exciting technology.”
Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “Our rollout of Superfast Broadband has already reached 105,000 homes and businesses in Suffolk, and this next phase means even more will benefit from a Superfast connection. The Better Broadband for Suffolk team is doing fantastic work, and the new satellite scheme means that those with the slowest speeds are able to get an immediate boost.”
As broadband deployment under the programme continues, residents and businesses interested in upgrading are encouraged to frequently visit the Better Broadband for Suffolk website (www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com) to check to see if their home or business can now receive faster broadband services.
Notes to Editors:
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are simultaneously issuing their own news release on the public launch of the satellite broadband scheme in Suffolk – see: www.culture.gov.uk/broadband
About Superfast Britain www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race.The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
£780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
£150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
£150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services.
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.