Suffolk: More than 10,000 homes within reach of broadband
- Credit: Archant
The campaign to bring broadband to every home in Suffolk has reached a significant milestone – more than 10,000 homes can now be connected to the technology.
The landmark was reached just four months after the first cabinets went live as part of the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign backed by the county council and the government.
The broadband is being installed by BT, and it will be linked into its existing commercial network that serves about 200,000 properties across the county.
Residents and business owners in more than 790 postcode areas can now order the new broadband technology.
The landmark does not mean 10,000 properties have been linked up to broadband – but it does mean that they have access to the technology through BT or another broadband supplier.
The county has committed to ensuring that by the end of 2015, every property in Suffolk has access to broadband speeds of at least two megabits per second (Mbps) while 85% of homes and businesses will be able to benefit from superfast speeds (24Mbps or more).
Every three months between now and the end of 2015, about 10,000 more properties will be given access to better broadband.
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Suffolk county council leader Mark Bee said: “Giving more than 10,000 properties access to faster broadband in just four months is a significant achievement and very much demonstrates the great things to come from the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme.
“Faster broadband will boost Suffolk’s economy, help us to attract new businesses to the county and create new jobs. It will also make it far easier for residents to access the internet and the benefits it can offer.
“I’m tremendously proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time and look forward to seeing the rollout completed within the next two years.”
Deputy leader Lisa Chambers, who is responsible for education at the county, added: “Better broadband is going to make an enormous difference to our drive to improve educational attainment and performance in Suffolk.
“It means an end to a digital divide where children living in rural areas can’t use the power of the internet to study and learn at home. Suffolk schools already have access to decent internet speeds and now that level of modern access is being extended.”
The new technology provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps, with the potential for even faster speeds in the future.
The county council estimates that over the next 15 years, the project will provide a £2 billion boost to the local economy and will create 1,500 jobs.
Residents can also enjoy a boost in speeds for home entertainment. They will able to simultaneously download movies, transfer files, watch TV replays, surf the internet and play online games.
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director next generation access, said: “It is a fantastic achievement that so many people in Suffolk are already seeing the benefits of this programme.
“By the end of this year we will have switched on 47 new fibre cabinets. This investment in fibre broadband will boost the local economy and help to create or protect local jobs both in communities across the whole of Suffolk.”
Communications minister Ed Vaizey added: “The government’s rollout of superfast broadband is proceeding at tremendous pace and I’m delighted that 10,000 homes and businesses in Suffolk are already benefiting as a result.
“The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to the Suffolk economy.”
However the County Land and business Association (CLA) warned that the government needed to do more to bring broadband to rural areas.
Regional director Nicola Currie said: “The government also needs to put in place a broadband infrastructure that is effective, affordable and available to all.
“The economic health of rural communities and their businesses is being damaged by exasperatingly slow broadband that leaves them unable to compete.
“Broadband is as vital as water, electricity and gas and should be looked on as the fourth utility, and for rural businesses to flourish more progress needs to made.”
The team working to deliver the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme has improved the online map which details when each area will benefit.
The new colour-coded and interactive map breaks down the programme on a postcode by postcode basis, giving a far more accurate and localised picture.
The new map, along with the postcode and line checker, is available on the Better Broadband for Suffolk website: www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com