Suffolk: More than 50,000 homes now have access to superfast broadband as campaign hits landmark halfway stage

Better Broadband for Suffolk reaches 50,000 properties. L-R: Cllr Mark Bee (Suffolk County Council),

Better Broadband for Suffolk reaches 50,000 properties. L-R: Cllr Mark Bee (Suffolk County Council), Tim Whitley (BT), Peter Butler (Openreach), Chris Bally (Suffolk County Council), Peter Ingram (Suffolk County Council), Mark Spells (Openreach), Caroline Goldsworthy (BT), Meral Bence (Openreach). - Credit: Archant

The drive to improve internet access to businesses and communities across Suffolk has reached the halfway stage – with more than 50,000 properties connected six weeks ahead of schedule.

Better Broadband for Suffolk is part of a multi-million pound partnership between the county council, Suffolk’s seven district and borough councils, BT and the Government to make high-speed fibre broadband more available, particularly to rural communities.

The campaign is at the heart of Suffolk County Council’s economic growth strategy which was launched in spring 2013.

Fibre cabinets have since been installed at roadside locations across the county to provide a faster internet service with the first batch switched on in August last year.

Now more than 4,700 postcodes have access to fibre broadband technology, including 2,800 business properties.

Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council’s leader and chairman of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme, said:

“Superfast broadband has the power to transform the way businesses operate, making them stronger and, therefore, more commercially viable.

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“This will give Suffolk’s economy a significant boost, helping us to attract new businesses to the county and create new jobs.

“We estimate that faster broadband will create as many as 1,500 new jobs in Suffolk, a number we hope to exceed.

“We have been working hard to get us to this milestone and I continue to be tremendously proud of what we have achieved.”

Approximately 10,000 properties will continue to get access to better broadband every three months until the end of 2015 as part of the campaign.

Suffolk County Council has committed to ensuring every property in Suffolk has access to broadband speeds of at least 2 megabits per second (Mbps) by the end of the programme while 85% of homes and businesses will be able to benefit from superfast speeds (24Mbps or more).

Dave Hughes, BT’s regional director for the East of England, said: “The Better Broadband for Suffolk programme is making strong progress, bringing high-speed fibre broadband to some of the most challenging areas in the county. The programme shows the power of the public and private sectors working together.

“BT has brought technical expertise to the table as well as millions of pounds of investment. This exciting technology is providing a major boost for local households and businesses in Suffolk, whether they are using it to work more efficiently and find new customers or for online learning and leisure.”

The roadside cabinets being connected to the new network serve very localised areas meaning not all parts of the towns and villages where they are located will be able to receive fibre broadband initially.

As the service becomes increasingly available, people will be able to visit to check whether their home or business can receive better broadband services.

Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey MP said: “Congratulations Suffolk! This is a tremendous result and a remarkable transformation of Suffolk’s digital landscape.”

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