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Suffolk: Framlingham, Aldeburgh, Leiston and Wickham Market among latest towns to benefit from new superfast broadband

PUBLISHED: 12:47 09 April 2014 | UPDATED: 08:48 10 April 2014

Mark Bee and Therese Coffey at the new

Mark Bee and Therese Coffey at the new "Head End" in Saxmundham watched by local district councillor Sir Peter Batho and local county councillor Michael Gower.

Archant

The programme to improve broadband speeds across Suffolk has reached a new milestone – with 25,000 properties now having access to a high-speed connection.

At the forefront of the latest improvement is the coastal area, thanks to a new high-tech “head end” installed in Saxmundham.

This should allow faster broadband speeds to be delivered to nearly 5,500 properties in communities across the area, including Framlingham, Aldeburgh, Leiston, and Wickham Market.

The head end was made to order in China and is one of three that will eventually be installed across the county as part of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme.

Just 32 weeks since the first green roadside cabinets were switched on, residents and business owners in more than 1,900 postcodes – about a quarter of those set to benefit from the programme – can now order the new broadband technology.

Suffolk County Council has committed to ensuring that by the end of 2015, every property in Suffolk has access to broadband speeds of at least two megabits per second (Mbps) while 85 per cent of homes and businesses will be able to benefit from superfast speeds (24 Mbps or more).

County council leader Mark Bee, who is also chair of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme, said: “Giving more than 25,000 properties access to faster broadband in just eight months is a significant achievement and clearly demonstrates the great things to come from the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme.

“We’re now making significant inroads into more rural parts of the county – precisely what we set out to do when we launched Better Broadband for Suffolk.

“I’m tremendously proud of what we have achieved and look forward to seeing the rollout completed by the end of next year.”

The improvements do not mean broadband speeds will automatically be speeded up to properties – businesses and householders will have to contact their broadband supplier to get them to speed up.

Dave Hughes, BT’s East of England regional director, said: “It is a fantastic achievement that so many 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 and protect local jobs in communities like Aldeburgh, Leiston, Saxmundham, Wickham Market and Framlingham and also across 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.”

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey said: “I welcome the enabling of this key exchange as it opens up many more homes and businesses in rural Suffolk to switch up to superfast broadband.”

Annette Mason-Gordon from the Heritage Coast Market Towns Initiative (HCMTI) said improvements to broadband speeds were badly needed.

She said: “I’ve been out today in Badingham where the broadband speed was terrible – you can’t do anything! I haven’t heard about any improvements, but if things are now being speeded up that is good news.

“This sounds exciting – the kind of thing that is really needed in this area. What is now needed is to get the message across to businesses and households, to get them to get their speeds improved.”

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Firefighters have been called to a blaze in a residential street in Ipswich.

An appeal has been launched to find an Essex man wanted in connection with a failure to appear at court.

The University of Essex is among more than 60 institutions set for strike action next month over pensions – however staff at the University of Suffolk are not expected to take part.

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