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Suffolk Opens New Tender for 95% Superfast Broadband Coverage Target

Monday, January 20th, 2014 (1:28 pm) - Score 1,223

As expected the Suffolk County Council in England has confirmed the launch of a new tender “mini-competition” that will seek a supplier to help expand the reach of superfast broadband (25Mbps+) services to around 95% of the county, with work set to commence by the end of 2014.

At present the £40m Better Broadband to Suffolk project is working with BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office to roll-out a superfast “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) network to more than 85% of local homes and businesses by the end of 2015.

But last month the council confirmed that it planned to go further and match the Government’s new national 95% target by 2017 (here), which is being funded by an additional allocation of £250m that must be split up to local authorities around the United Kingdom. Naturally Suffolk, like nearly all other councils, is seeking a slice of the same pie. The difference is that Suffolk has become one of the first to actually tender for it.

Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council’s Leader, said (Haverhillecho):

We’re only five months into the delivery of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme and we’re already looking at how we can take it to the next level.

Our current commitment to making superfast speeds available to 85 per cent of Suffolk homes and businesses is only the beginning. We want to push forward so that even more people are able to benefit.

I’m looking forward to this additional work getting underway and the day that slow, or non-existent, internet speeds are a thing of the past in Suffolk.”

The news, which is expected to be replicated across the country over the next year, also means that the council will need to conduct another Open Market Review in order to establish how far existing broadband services plan to go and where they should target next.

Meanwhile the central Government has been working hard to adjust the next phase of their BDUK funding around a more commercial focus (here), although few expect anybody other than BT to be able to compete for and win any of the new funding at local level.

Suffolk’s new tender should conclude this summer and it then anticipates the first expansion work to begin by the end of 2014, which will be conducted in parallel with their existing but semi-separate project.

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar gerarda

    Ironic that another Open Market Review has to be held as its the failure of BT to honour plans given in the previous one that has been the main pressure point to trigger this second round. http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/politics/suffolk_more_communities_set_to_be_offered_broadband_boost_1_3226919

  2. Avatar JNeuhoff

    Waste of time and taxpayer’s money which will end up with BT anyway.

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