Superfast broadband set to reach properties across Suffolk by 2022
PUBLISHED: 07:30 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:58 08 January 2020
The last Suffolk properties without superfast broadband could be connected by 2022 if a new deal is approved by council chiefs next week.
Currently just over 95% of properties in the county have access to superfast broadband (defined as having a speed of more than 30Mbps) and that figure should rise to 98% of properties under the existing contract between the county and BT Openreach by the end of this year.
There have so far been two phases of broadband roll-out sponsored by the county, and the third phase will target the hard to reach final 2% of properties still waiting to access the service.
The county has £10m from its original deals to put into the contract, and it hopes to match that with a similar amount from the government through the Department for Media, Culture and Sport. Extending rural broadband was a key pledge during the general election campaign.
Papers to go before Suffolk County Council's cabinet reveal that the first two phases have so far made superfast broadband available to 145,000 homes and businesses across the county - with more than 92,000 taking up the broadband.
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In addition to these figures are the broadband that is supplied to properties in larger towns on a commercial basis.
This broadband can be much faster than the superfast provided through the county's deals - almost 22% of properties in the county get fibre broadband from Virgin Media which offers up to 1,100Mbps.
County council figures show that across Suffolk 29% of properties have broadband with speeds of more than 100Mbps.
The cabinet will be asked to allow council leader Matthew Hicks and cabinet member for finance Gordon Jones to agree to a contract with a contract provider for the final phase of the broadband work.
At present much of the broadband is provided by fibre to an external cabinet, but the last leg to a customer's home or office is provided by a traditional copper wire which is not able to cope with the highest speeds.
It is a government aim to ultimately deliver broadband by cable direct to every customer's home or workplace - and some of the county council's phase three broadband will bring fibre directly to consumers' properties.