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Suffolk UK Expect Superfast Broadband to Boost Local Economy by GBP5bn

Tuesday, Jun 19th, 2012 (2:57 pm) - Score 717

The Suffolk County Council (SCC) has optimistically predicted that its local plan, which aims to make superfast broadband ISP speeds of 100Mbps available to everyone in the region by 2020 (shared EU target), could result in a £5bn boost to the local economy.

At present the average broadband speed currently experienced by Suffolk’s consumers and small businesses is less than 5Mbps (Megabits per second), with approximately 60,000 premises receiving speeds of under 2Mbps. The SCC has won £11.68 Million from the governments Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office to solve this and will also put aside £10 Million from its coffers, which the private sector has to match.

Suffolks BDUK Approved Local Broadband Plan (LBP)

We are planning to get Superfast Broadband (20Mbps+) to most premises (~85-90%) by 2015, with the remaining ~10-15% also getting a significant improvement in broadband speeds (2Mbps – 20Mbps) by 2015 from interim solutions (pending the 100% vision by 2020).

Our plan assumes a predominantly fibre-based solution (a mix of fibre-to-the premises (FTTP) and fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC)) to ~85-90% of premises by 2015, with interim solutions (mostly Fixed Wireless Broadband (FWB), but also some Satellite Broadband) serving the remaining ~10-15% of premises also by 2015.

Note that the interim Fixed Wireless Broadband solution has to be a county-wide overlay (to reach the premises that remain un-served by the fibre-based solution), but the number of premises served by the interim FWB solution will be limited to around 10-15%, because of the relative economics of fibre-based versus FWB solutions and the limited amount of suitable radio spectrum available.

The plan specifically aims to ensure that the one fifth of all Suffolk premises (~60,000) that currently get less than 2Mbps, will all get more than 2Mbps by 2015.

By comparison the government wants 90% of people in each UK local authority area to be within reach of a superfast broadband (24-30Mbps+) service by the middle of 2015 (the last 10% only get a “commitment” for speeds of at least 2Mbps), although somebody probably forgot to update Suffolk’s LBP document as it still states “20Mbps+“. Interestingly both BT and Fujitsu are said to be in the running for Suffolk’s contract (some previous reports suggested that Fujitsu might not bid here).

SCC Leader, Mark Bee, said (BuryFreePress):

We should be one of the first four local authorities in the country to get superfast broadband so that will give us a real edge … It will put something like £5 billion into the local economy.”

Naturally we were curious about how the £5bn figure was arrived at and found some clues in SCC’s LBP document, which suggested that it would fuel general economic growth of +15-20% (worth around £2bn), improve retention and growth of small businesses, aid access to a global online market, modernise the delivery of public services online and retain / grow employment (5,000 FTE jobs). In short, £5bn still looks to be somewhat overly optimistic if coming from broadband alone.

Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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