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Suffolk UK Secure £1.725m to Extend Faster Rural Broadband

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019 (7:24 am) - Score 989
better broadband for suffolk

The UK Government’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has released £1.725m to help improve “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) coverage in rural parts of Suffolk. The money is expected to result in a further 550 business and 600 non-business (homes etc.) premises being covered.

At present the existing £64m state aid supported Better Broadband for Suffolk (BBS) project with Openreach (BT) has already achieved 93%+ coverage of superfast ISP networks (up from just 50% in 2013) and they aim to reach 98% coverage by the end of 2020.

On top of that the local authority has consistently said they’re “committed to reaching 100% Superfast Broadband coverage in Suffolk as quickly as possible” and today’s announcement is all about helping to chip away at the final 2%. This generally represents some of the most poorly served rural communities in the county.

Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said:

“This is great news for Suffolk and really underlines the success we have when local councils work together. With 98% of Suffolk already funded to receive Superfast Broadband, we are doing all we can to reach the remaining businesses and residents, so I congratulate the teams on securing this funding.

By helping businesses to go Superfast, we are enabling them to unlock new ways of working, access new online markets and helping them grow and be successful.”

Apparently work on connecting the new areas will begin “later in 2019,” although the announcement doesn’t clarify precisely how the funding will be used, where or by who. The most likely outcome is that it will go toward an extension of the existing BT contract and many such deals being signed today tend to focus on ultrafast “full fibreFTTP more than the older generation of superfast “hybrid fibreFTTC (VDSL2) services (not yet confirmed for Suffolk).

On the other hand Cityfibre last year secured the contract to build a new Gigabit (1Gbps+) capable “full fibre” broadband / Ethernet network in Suffolk (here), which will initially focus on connecting public sector sites across 10 towns before being expanded to reach local businesses and possibly homes. In theory the new funding could play a role in that but the focus at this stage for Cityfibre is different from what has been announced today.

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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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2 Responses
  1. Avatar Meadmodj

    Is the mention of Cityfibre relevant?. I can’t see Cityfibre in rural let alone the final 2% and particularly remote farms for some time, if ever and they didn’t put themselves forward to be a USO provider. Despite manipulated public body procurement of network capacity and direct subsidy (LNNF) their network will only be in the major conurbations medium term and whilst this may assist an overbuild bun fight it’s not going to help rural Suffolk who need an effective broadband or businesses requiring decent speeds.

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