Suffolk signs up for broadband extension

Mark Bee (Suffolk County Council leader), Mark Pendlington (New Anglia LEP) and Bill Murphy (BT) at

Mark Bee (Suffolk County Council leader), Mark Pendlington (New Anglia LEP) and Bill Murphy (BT) at the signing of the broadband expansion. - Credit: Archant

Broadband coverage will reach 95% of properties in Suffolk by 2018 after the county became the first in Britain to sign a second-round deal with technology giant BT to extend coverage.

Work on the first round of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme is already under way which should bring the technology to 85% of properties by the end of next year.

The second round should continue on from this, bringing broadband to a further 10% of properties at a cost of £30 million, with £15 million coming from central government, £10 million from Suffolk County Council and £5 million from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The deal was formally signed by Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee and Bill Murphy from BT which will install the enlarged network.

Mr Bee was celebrating his 50th birthday, and joked: “This is the most valuable birthday present I’ve ever received!

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“I’m delighted that we have got this signed, and that Suffolk is leading the way with this – but we will not be satisfied with reaching 95% of the properties.

“We will be looking at how we can extend superfast broadband to 100% of the properties in Suffolk by 2020. Broadband is as important as electricity and water supplies now. It is one of the most important factors people consider when buying a property.”

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Mr Murphy said he was delighted BT would be bringing the new technology to more properties, including some communities which fell through the criteria for the first round of broadband.

He said: “This means that 16,000 more properties in Suffolk will have access to superfast broadband.” He hoped that it might be possible to complete the second phase of the broadband programme before 2018 – but that date had been given to ensure the deadline was met.

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