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Suffolk: BT to win £40m contract to wire up county for super-fast broadband

PUBLISHED: 14:06 17 September 2012

Mark Bee, Leader of Suffolk County Council

Mark Bee, Leader of Suffolk County Council

Archant

TECHNOLOGY giant BT is set to win the £40million contract to bring broadband to all parts of Suffolk, the EADT can reveal.

The only other bidder has pulled out of the race to bring super-fast internet to the county, and it means the company is now expected to roll-out services over the next two years.

It is a major step forward in the push for better broadband in Suffolk. Earlier this year, more than 12,000 homes and businesses registered for the EADT-backed campaign to demonstrate the appetite for it.

The broadband programme is expected to see most properties in Suffolk get a minimum speed of 5Mbps by early 2015, and for properties in towns to get a minimum of 15-20Mbps, rising to much higher figures as technology allows.

Currently, speeds in rural areas can be far lower – hampering both businesses and household consumers.

BT, which has its research and development centre at Adastral Park, Martlesham Heath, had been one of two bidders – along with Fujitsu – for the Suffolk contract.

However, a spokesman for Fujitsu told the EADT at the weekend: “We are not bidding for the Suffolk contract.”

That means BT is due to be confirmed as the preferred bidder at a special meeting of Suffolk County Council’s cabinet next Monday, at which the contract is to be unveiled. BT will also today be named as the winner of a contract to provide similar services in Norfolk.

Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils have been working together on their broadband bids – but officials have always emphasised they are separate bids and they have never ruled out engaging different broadband providers. There were substantial differences between the BT and Fujitsu bids.

BT always planned to bring superfast broadband “to the box”. Fibre-optic cables would carry broadband to mini-exchanges serving small numbers of customers – with the final section over existing copper cables to homes and businesses.

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