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Suffolk UK Expect Superfast Broadband to Boost Local Economy by GBP5bn

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 (2:57 pm) - Score 693

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.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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9 Responses
  1. Deduction says:

    quote”superfast broadband ISP speeds of 100Mbps available to everyone in the region by 2020″

    quote”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.”

    Good luck with that….. 100Mb to all NO CHANCE IN HELL

  2. Chris Conder says:

    agree with deduction, they haven’t a chance if they deploy ‘fibre based cabinets’ for the urbans and ‘up to’ for the rurals. By 2012 they will realise the whole job is to do again. Properly.

    They should leave the urbans alone, the market will deliver that, and focus on the hardest to reach places and build a fibre ring, allowing altnets to do the final mile. Regulation should ensure the incumbent keeps away for long enough. Councils should bend over backwards to help with planning and mapping and each county should build for the future.

    Not enough votes in that though. Guess they will go for BT ‘superfast’. Fibre based copper. Tis a quick fix for majority. Be careful what you wish for though. You will get it through the phones for infinity. And beyond.

    1. FibreFred says:

      Regulation kept the BT away in the 80’s when they actually had the appetite to rollout fibre, it was kept away until recently by continuous outcries of the cable companies. And you want to repeat all that again?

      They don’t need to be regulated out it should be an open market

      Build a fibre ring and allow altnets to do the final mile? What is stopping this now, go for it, if its easy enough as that soundbite and cheap why aren’t these altnets doing it?

  3. Somerset says:

    So why won’t the mix give 100M?

    1. Bob says:

      Because of distance and other issues. Yes the network may be capable of UPTO 100Mbs but that does not mean it will deliver 100Mbs. There is a long track record of gross exageration of what can actually be delivered in fact so much so that OFCOM become involved and now requires ISP’s to give a more realistic estimation of what speed you might actually get

    2. Deduction says:

      Distance of home (IE copper wire) to cabinet…. OR if you want to argue…

    3. DTMark says:

      The actual expected speeds are missing, just ranges are given, but this all depends on how much FTTP is installed.

      To get 100% on 100Mbps would, I’d guess, need a deployment of about 98% FTTP and 2% FTTC.

      The stated plan is 85% to 90% to get 20Mbps+ which I suppose might be more like 30% FTTP and 70% FTTC.

      20Mbps, while 4x what people apparently get now, doesn’t strike me as very ambitious.

  4. nicknick says:

    £5Bn for only £30M. WOW!!!!! multiply that my the number of counties and all of a sudden no deficit!!!!!!

    In fact tell the Greeks (and the other EU countries) – crisis over. Thank God for Suffolk council!!!!!!!

  5. zemadeiran says:

    Suffolk’s GDP can only increase by such a large amount if Bernard Matthews escapes south of the border…

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