Suffolk: Broadband access ‘vital for the economy’

AS the campaign to bring superfast broadband to rural parts of Suffolk steps up a gear, an Ipswich-based business has explained why a such a link is vital in the 21st century.

HTK Horizon is based on the Waterfront and provides software that helps companies of all sizes with their marketing and customer service.

The company was founded in 1996 and has 30 staff, all based in the town.

Company managing director Justin Bowser said: “We need superfast broadband in order to survive and thrive as a business; it’s as simple as that.

“It just isn’t possible these days for a software technology business to function without good broadband – whether it’s for talking on our IP phone system to customers, holding video calls with remote team members, hosting online ‘webinars’ with our sales prospects or logging on remotely to our data centres to manage our IT systems.”

HTK is working with the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign to highlight the real difference superfast broadband would make to business in the county.

“Putting in our own superfast broadband made a huge difference,” Mr Bowser added.

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The company deals with video calls which all take place over superfast broadband connection, often at the same time that it’s being used for secure data transfer.

Therefore without superfast broadband, these ways of working would cost a fortune and would not work for the business.

The process to select and award a contract to a supplier to extend Better Broadband throughout Suffolk is now well underway.

An Invitation to Tender was issued to suppliers at the end of June and they now have until early September to submit their bids.

The aim is to award a contract in October, leading to deployment starting before the end of 2012 and continuing through to early 2015, bringing Superfast Broadband to the vast majority of premises in Suffolk.

County council leader and chair of the Better Broadband for Suffolk board Mark Bee said: “HTK are a great example of a cutting edge business based in Suffolk that we can be proud off.

“It is fundamental to the local economy that we welcome more leading firms. HTK have shown that with the right infrastructure, superfast broadband, they can be leaders in their field. It is another reason why getting better broadband for Suffolk must remain a high priority for us all.”