Suffolk’s superfast broadband programme confirms commitment to ‘ambitious goal’
A commitment to rolling out superfast broadband to 98% of Suffolk has been announced – after project leaders ramped up delivery efforts.
Key figures behind the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme met this week to confirm their pledge within the time frame.
Since the programme began in 2010, £64million in public funding has been secured to reach 93% of homes and business in the county.
Under the government’s “Superfast Extension Programme”, Suffolk has a contract for Openreach to reach 98% of the county – and a commitment to reach the rest “as quickly as possible”.
In recent months, efforts have been accelerated, with 137 new structures built in the last quarter, reaching 3,000 more homes.
Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks, Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill and Openreach CEO Clive Selley met this week to issue their joint commitment to the 2020 target, joined by representatives from West Suffolk Council, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the Church of England. Others in attendance included the Country Land and Business Association and the National Farmers Union.
Mr Hicks said: “With this agreement in place, Openreach will continue to ensure we meet our ambitious goal. In the meantime, we will continue to look for further funding opportunities to work on delivery to the final 2%.”
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Mrs Churchill said fast broadband was “one of the most important aspects of everyday life” for people in Suffolk.
“This signed agreement marks the huge effort and great progress made in delivering this,” she added. “Having recently toured the villages in my constituency, residents are beginning to feel these results and I am encouraged as we move forward with delivery of the fourth utility for everyone.”
The programme has so far providing superfast broadband to more than 110,000 premises that were not in commercial plans.
Mr Selley said the “great progress” showed what can be achieved when government and the private sector works together.
Once a fibre broadband connection has been enabled people need to upgrade to superfast broadband via an internet service provider to benefit from the faster speeds.
Visit www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com to check for coverage.