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Suffolk UK Celebrates Achieving 90% Coverage of Superfast Broadband

Friday, July 21st, 2017 (5:13 pm) - Score 539
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The Better Broadband for Suffolk project in England has celebrated after their joint contract with Openreach (BT) managed to push the local coverage of FTTC/P based “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) networks to 90% of homes and businesses, with 98% being the next target for 2020.

Overall 123,684 additional premises have been reached by the deployment, with take-up in related areas currently standing at over 42% (315,000 premises if you include commercial roll-outs). On top of that Suffolk was one of the first areas to sign a second extension contract with BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK scheme, which occurred all the way back in August 2015 and aimed to push the coverage to 95% of local homes and businesses “before 2018” (here).

At this point there appears to be a little bit of a disconnection between the use of “fibre broadband” and “superfast broadband” terminology in some of the announcements, which makes it hard to know whether that 95% figure reflects the coverage of “superfast” or merely the raw fibre footprint (inc. areas with sub-24Mbps speeds). Suffolk would struggle to hit 95% coverage of “superfast broadband” by the end of 2017 and so mid or late 2019 seems more likely.

On top of that the Government’s Digital Minister and MP for West Suffolk, Matt Hancock, has today announced that the local authority have also signed a third contract with Openreach that will push the coverage of “superfast broadband” out to 98% of local homes and businesses by sometime in 2020 (i.e. 50,000 additional premises).

Jane Storey, Suffolk County Council’s Deputy Leader, said:

“While it’s great that 90% of Suffolk homes and businesses are now connected to fibre broadband, there is still more work to be done to get the entire county connected to high-speed internet. We remain committed to delivering that, and making sure that no-one is left behind.

The new agreement to reach 98% during 2020 is a big leap forward, and adds to the significant increase in broadband coverage since we started this work in 2010.

But we’re now facing the toughest challenge – connecting the properties in the most remote locations in Suffolk. It’s the farms, the hamlets and the really rural communities that need our support.

A lot of hard work has gone into getting where we are now and this will continue as we strive to give everyone in Suffolk faster internet speeds.”

Sadly the announcement doesn’t include any information about the funding or technology split for the third contract. However we are told that plans are already being developed for tackling the remaining 2%, although the details for this have yet to be finalised.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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6 Responses
  1. Avatar alan beales

    Absolute Rubbish, living in rural Suffolk I see no evidence locally or any of my adjoining villages of Superfast Broadband

    In Bures about a year ago, Openreach installed a fibre (FTC)cabinet in the pavement at the end of the exchange driveway.
    That was the last we saw of Openreach
    Length about 500m – then it was announced “Fibre has arrived in the Community”
    How has that helped adjoining villages who parented on the exchange some 2/3 miles away

    • Avatar MikeW

      “I haven’t benefited, so the stats must be wrong”.

      Codelook tells us that Bures has 7 FTTC cabinet listed:
      – One went live in 2015
      – One went live in 2016
      – One went live earlier this year
      – Two should have gone live earlier this year
      – One should be going live around now
      – One due next year

      There’s a mix of both the original BDUK projects for Suffolk and Essex, and both the SEP projects for Suffolk and Essex.

      One of the live cabinets, and one of the planned cabinets seem to be for outlying villages.

  2. Avatar Shoey

    Our village in suffolk is still without FTTC and our ADSL is between 0.5 and 1Mb. Some of the villagers myself included l have moved to 4G while we wait, it’s happening slowly there are villages around us that have FTTC and we’re still in the pipeline, we’re approx 8 months away from the last estimates on the plus side there has been a planning application for a cabinet to be put in.

  3. Avatar NGA for all

    Good to see but that’s a been a tough grind. Was the problem that the Commercial footprints dropped by about at least 30,000 premises? The original interventional area was once 91,000 premises.

    • Avatar gerarda

      There was a big cutback in the commercial footprint but probably not as much as 30,000. The number of premises will have increased since 2011, and will account for some of the difference.

      In the absence of any new OMR or public tender I assume that this extra 3% is being funded totally by clawback monies and BT, not new money from the Council.

    • Avatar NGA for all

      Gerarda, Have Suffolk CC published anything on the status of their ‘investment account’ with BT? As we have seen in Leicestershire, you begin to see how BT pays its capital towards the end of the process, where some of the money sits until additional work is planned or enters some future bid process. This is in addition to the ‘savings’ and clawback.

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