Suffolk: Framlingham, Halesworth and Southwold to get faster broadband speeds

BT has revealed plans to make faster broadband available to a further 21,400 homes and businesses in Suffolk.

Framlingham, Halesworth, Southwold, Lavenham, Clare, Barrow, Stanton, Lakenheath, Holbrook and Nayland are the latest communities in the county to be included in the roll-out of BT’s next generation broadband service delivered over copper lines.

They are due to be upgraded by the spring of next year, making available download speeds of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps) – more than double the speed previously available from BT.

The faster broadband is already available in many places across the county, including Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Foxhall, Glemsford, Haverhill, Ipswich, Kesgrave and Lowestoft, and Beyton and Hadleigh recently joined the list.

BT says that, by next spring, around 81% of homes and businesses in the region will be served by an exchange which has been upgraded to deliver these higher speeds, with the new service available on an open, wholesale basis to all companies providing broadband.

Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This kind of major investment has never been more vital. It is an essential part of building a more prosperous Suffolk in these economically uncertain times.

“Businesses can use the technology to be more efficient and competitive, whilst individuals can develop their education and skills for a fast changing world. Efficient, high-speed communications are critical to our future success.”

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Dave Hughes, BT’s East of England regional director, said: “The rapid roll-out of faster broadband offers a great opportunity for Suffolk and the East of England as a whole. It is an important part of BT’s plans to help ensure that the county is able to take full advantage of the communications revolution.

“Around 74% of East of England businesses and households now have access to this technology and within about a year this will have increased to around eight out of 10 premises in this region.

“The technology is having a major impact on our everyday lives and changing for the better the way we live, helping businesses work more efficiently and flexibly and to find new markets, and communities are better able to make use of the huge range of on-line educational and entertainment opportunities available.

“But there is still much work to be done and we want to work with the public sector to find solutions for even the most challenging locations,” he added.

BT’s investment in the copper network is in addition to the group’s �2.5billion roll-out of fibre-based broadband, which will bring even faster speeds to around two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.