Suffolk: Council and MPs push for more government support for broadband programme

Tim Yeo MP, Peter Aldous MP, Councillor Mark Bee, Ed Vaisey MP, David Ruffley MP, Peter Ingram (Bett

Tim Yeo MP, Peter Aldous MP, Councillor Mark Bee, Ed Vaisey MP, David Ruffley MP, Peter Ingram (Better Broadband for Suffolk programme director). - Credit: Archant

The leader of Suffolk County Council and three of Suffolk’s MPs have met with the communications minister to push for the extension of Suffolk’s Better Broadband programme.

Councillor Mark Bee, Tim Yeo MP, Peter Aldous MP and David Ruffley MP met with Ed Vaizey yesterday to enlist the government’s support for the scheme.

Better Broadband for Suffolk is currently four months into its two-and-a-half year implementation period, which will see 100,000 homes receive a faster internet connection.

It aims to upgrade 85% of properties in the county to superfast broadband by 2015.

New proposals include extending that target to 90% of properties – in line with government objectives.

Suffolk County Council have also pledged that every property in the county will have access to speeds of at least 2Mbps.

Yesterday a spokesman for the County Council said the meeting was positive and an announcement on the precise details of any potential extension is expected in the coming months.

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Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council’s leader and chair of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme, said: “The Better Broadband programme is already achieving great results but that is no reason for us to stop striving for even greater outcomes for Suffolk.

“We had a very positive meeting with Ed Vaizey and I’m excited about the potential to extend the programme even further.

“Suffolk’s pledge of a universal minimum of 2Mbps is right for our county because there are so many rural areas that would otherwise have ended up with nothing.

“This is about extending our superfast commitment so that Suffolk really is at the forefront of broadband access.”

Better Broadband for Suffolk is a multi million pound partnership between Suffolk County Council, BT and the Government to make high-speed fibre broadband more widely available throughout the county, especially in rural areas.

The partnership is building on BT’s existing commercial plans, which already aims to make fibre broadband available to around 200,000 Suffolk premises.

The new technology provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps, with the potential for faster speeds in the future.

The economy boosting measure will allow businesses to work faster and more efficiently. Having fibre broadband means users are able to run multiple, bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and send and receive large amounts of data faster.

Suffolk County Council have estimated that over the next 15 years, the project will provide a £2 billion boost to the local economy and will create 1,500 jobs.

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