Ten Suffolk towns to benefit from ‘revolutionary’ £12million high-speed internet network

Chris Bally said the scheme marked continued investment in the county's network Picture: DAVID GARRA

Chris Bally said the scheme marked continued investment in the county's network Picture: DAVID GARRAD

A multi-million pound scheme will bring a high-speed fibre network to 10 towns across Suffolk - in a project which leaders believe will be “revolutionary” for the region.

At Friday’s Suffolk Public Sector Leaders meeting, which featured the leaders and chief executives of the county’s local authorities, it was confirmed that telecommunications firm MLL and CityFibre would be delivering the infrastructure improvements.

A total of 10 towns have been chosen for the beginning of the scheme, with work starting in January and expected to take 15-18 months.

The first 10 towns that will form the ‘spine’ of the network are Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Haverhill, Sudbury, Stowmarket, Felixstowe, Newmarket, Mildenhall and Woodbridge.

The scheme has been funded by £5.9m from central government, announced during the recent budget, alongside a collective £6m put in by the local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, police and NHS hospital trusts which will use the network.

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It means that a countywide infrastructure of fibre network can be laid in Suffolk, which will initially be used for public sector organisations before being opened up to the public.

Neil Woolerton, director of client management at MLL, said it would deliver a “long term investment in fibre infrastructure to future proof speeds no less than 1GB”.

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He said: “It allows people to work from anywhere, anytime, so we are really excited to be involved in this project.”

It is believed the project will be worth between £40m and £75m in wider benefits over the next 20 years alone once it has been established.

Mr Woolerton added: “Having the ability to have 1GB speed is hugely revolutionary.

“We have had 100 years of copper wire and now we are moving to the next revolution – this will futureproof for the next 50-100 years.”

It comes on top of the council’s commitment to provide superfast broadband to the entire county.

Chris Bally, deputy chief executive at Suffolk County Council said: “Continuing to invest in our network in Suffolk is really important for productivity.

“It will underpin future public service delivery.”

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