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Suffolk: MPs back county's broadband bid

PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 June 2012

Suffolk MPs back the broadband bid - Peter Aldous, Matthew Hancock, Chris Soule from the Federation of Small Businesses, county council leader Mark Bee and Therese Coffey. Standing Dan Poulter

Suffolk MPs back the broadband bid - Peter Aldous, Matthew Hancock, Chris Soule from the Federation of Small Businesses, county council leader Mark Bee and Therese Coffey. Standing Dan Poulter

Archant

SUFFOLK'S MPs gave the proposals to bring in superfast broadband to rural parts of the county a ringing endorsement during a special briefing at Westminster yesterday.

County council leader Mark Bee joined Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Andy Wood and Chris Soule from the Federation of Small Businesses to meet MPs whose constituents are waiting for fast broadband to reach their communities.

All the MPs welcomed the fact that the council was near to choosing which of two providers – believed to be BT and Fujitsu – would carry on the work.

And they were looking forward to the day when work would start on breaking down the “digital divide” that has built up in Suffolk over recent years.

While households in Ipswich and part of Felixstowe can get speeds of up to 120 Mbps through Virgin fibre-optic cables, properties in some rural parts of the county struggle to get 1Mbps.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has constituents on both sides of the digital divide.

He said: “The news about how far we have come is excellent and it is right to note the work that has been put in by the county council, the LEP and the FSB.

“It is great that we are one of the first four areas of the country to take this major step forward.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said it was good news that rural areas would be among the first reached, but work would also continue to improve services to enterprise zones which was vital for boosting business.

Mr Bee said communities with some of the slowest broadband speeds in Suffolk would be among the first to have work completed.

The first properties to be linked up should be at the end of this year with the first programme completed by the spring of 2015.

Ultimately the aim was to bring superfast broadband to all properties in Suffolk by 2020.

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