Suffolk: D-Day nearing over superfast broadband bid

A FINAL decision on who should bring superfast broadband to homes and businesses around Suffolk will be made at a special meeting of the county’s cabinet at the end of next month.

The cabinet will meet along with MPs and leaders of the district and borough councils across Suffolk to choose which of the bidders will install new broadband throughout the county.

There are two bidders – British Telecom and Fujitsu – in the race to bridge the digital divide that has opened up in the county.

In Ipswich and parts of Felixstowe fibre-optic cable means homes and businesses can access speeds of up to 100 or even 120mbps – while in rural areas many properties struggle to reach 2mbps.

The meeting, at Endeavour House, Ipswich, will be held on September 24 – and once the provider is chosen work should start almost immediately on improving broadband coverage.

The programme should take until early 2015 to be fully in operation.

County council leader and chair of the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign Mark Bee said it was important that all areas of the county could benefit from the improvement.

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He said: “This is not something that can happen immediately, but we do need to see improvements to broadband speeds across the county.

“It will not be possible to reach the kind of broadband speeds you get in some parts of Ipswich everywhere in the first phase – but we need to see improved speeds and for the new network to be future-proofed so speeds can be improved in the future.

“Ultimately the aim has to be to have speeds of up to 100mbps available to 100% of the homes in Suffolk.”