Suffolk: Broadband vote reaches critical point as 10,000 sign up for better service

THE BID to bring better broadband to all areas of Suffolk is on track - but the campaign still needs more support.

More than 10,000 people have now signed up for the “Better Broadband for Suffolk” campaign – showing how important the service is to people across the county.

Most votes have come from rural areas, where broadband service is at its worst.

There is a huge variation in speeds across Suffolk – in Ipswich and parts of Felixstowe fibre optic broadband gives speeds of 30 megabips per second (Mbs) while in some rural towns and villages householders are lucky to get 1Mbs.

County council leader Mark Bee, who chairs the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign, said: “It’s time for everyone in Suffolk to wake up and realise what better broadband could do for our county.

“More opportunities for business and tourism, easier access to public services and improvements in our children’s education. These are not ‘nice to haves’ - these are essentials in a modern world.

“I’m calling on every elected politician in Suffolk to do everything they can to spread the word and make sure the people they represent know what they can do to back the campaign.

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“It’s so easy. The survey takes no more than five minutes to complete and every single sign up gets us one step closer to faster broadband and a brighter, more prosperous future for Suffolk.”

The Central Suffolk and North Ipswich constituency of Dr Dan Poulter has so far sent in the highest number of replies per household.

Dr Poulter was delighted to hear the response had been so positive. He said: “I have encouraged people I meet to sign up and I have also written to all the parish councils in my constituency urging them to get people to sign up.

“This is vital for the future development of the county – and I hope that those who have not signed up so far will do so over the next few days.”

The online campaign deadline is Saturday – March 31. Once all the replies have been counted and verified they will be passed to the government agency Broadband Delivery UK to show the strength of feeling in the county.

While Suffolk has passed the 10,000 responses, neighbouring Norfolk – which has a much larger population – has attracted 12,000 responses.

And it is not just individuals who are signing up – businesses are also being urged to show their support for the campaign.

Andy Wood, Adnams chief executive and chair of the New Anglia local enterprise partnership, said: “Suffolk businesses have responded fantastically to the better broadband campaign but that doesn’t mean we can let up in our efforts to demonstrate the real demand that’s out there.

“There are well over 25,000 businesses in Suffolk, many of which could benefit from superfast broadband. Before we get to that point, it’s essential that as many companies as possible back the campaign.”