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Suffolk UK Launches Next Generation Broadband Campaign

Posted: 15th Jan, 2010 By: MarkJ
east englandThe Suffolk County Council, Choose Suffolk, BT, local businesses and tourism groups have all ganged up to launch a new 'Suffolk Broadband' campaign. Unsurprisingly it seeks to promote Suffolk as a good place for building next generation broadband networks. The partnership hopes to do that by trying to secure £5m of funding from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

The news comes just days after residents, businesses and politicians in neighbouring Norfolk raised angry voices because BT had not included the area in its initial rollout of superfast (up to 100Mbps) fibre optic based broadband services (here).

Andy Wood, Chairman of Choose Suffolk, told the EveningStar24:

"Suffolk is a county characterised by generally poor broadband access and this is proving to be a significant disadvantage for business growth and community inclusion. Businesses not only lose out on contracts but also lose overall competitiveness against their better equipped peers in other areas of the country where broadband access is faster."

In responding to the concerns of both county’s, BT clarified that only 25% of its planned rollout had been announced so far (around 160 UK telephone exchanges), "it is clearly far too early to conclude that any area of the country has been 'excluded'," added a BT spokesperson.

We'd have to agree with BT, it takes years to rollout a new technology and everybody has to be patient. However there are also legitimate concerns about some of the 160 exchanges BT has targeted for its initial deployments. For example, many of the areas are covered by Virgin Media and its up to 50Mbps cable products. It's often argued that BT’s rollout, at least its initial coverage, would do more good in non-cable areas.

Those seeking to vote and register their interest at having next generation broadband services in Suffolk are being asked to visit www.suffolk.gov.uk and then click on Speed up Suffolk. It's probably worth pointing out that the EREBUS (Eastern Region Broadband Uplift Scheme) has being doing something similar for awhile and covers the whole region instead of just one county.
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