Better Broadband for Suffolk and its communities

March 19, 2015

Categories: IT Services | Rural issues

Community Action Suffolk has for some time now been on the Better Broadband Suffolk Partnership Board, which Suffolk County Council set up at the start of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme, to improve engagement with the variety of communities across Suffolk.

better broadband for suffolkAlongside other key partners such as the business community, police, Suffolk Association with Local Councils, farming community, Ipswich Borough Council, to name a few we are able to gain access to the latest news on the roll out and to also feed back concerns from communities across Suffolk about the provision and speed of broadband.

The Better Broadband for Suffolk programme, run by Suffolk County Council, has secured around £24m of public money (Suffolk County Council and Central Government), which has been used to leverage further private sector investment from BT through a public procurement process. With this money they will be able to intervene in all areas which will not be subject to commercial upgrades.

If your community is struggling with poor Internet speeds or if you have concerns about the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme then please get in touch with us (contact details below). We can’t promise to immediately solve these issues but we can promise we will use our position on the partnership board to share your concerns.

Key Stats

  • 80% of all properties (75000 homes) in Suffolk have had their telephone line upgraded for Fibre Broadband to date.
  • Completion of Phase 1 of the scheme will mean that 85% of properties will have access to Superfast Broadband by Autumn 2015
  • Completion of Phase 2 of the scheme will mean 95% of all properties will have access to Superfast Broadband by early 2018
  • There is also a commitment beyond this to ensure that the final 5% of the county which doesn’t get covered in this programme will get covered by 2020
  • There has been 20% take up of Fibre Internet services through Internet Service Providers to date which means that Suffolk County Council can claw some of this 24 million pounds back as part of the agreement
  • 925 miles of Fibre Optic cabling has been installed across Suffolk

How do I know if I am able to get ‘Superfast’ Broadband?

Visit www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com and use the “My Location checker” on the main page. Put in your post code and you will see when Fibre broadband is available at your property. To confirm whether you can get it immediately rather than using the Map use the “Check My Phone Number” system on the Map page.

Common Misconception

When you are told that your telephone exchange has been activated for Fibre Broadband it is not automatic that your property receives the upgrade.  You have to do something! To experience the increase in speeds you need to speak to your Internet Service Provider to ask them whether you can upgrade your existing product.

2Mbps “Universal Service Commitment”

You may remember that the incoming Government in 2010 promised that everybody in the UK should have access to a connection with a minimum download speed of 2mbps by the end of 2015. This commitment is still very much active and we can tell you that from this summer Suffolk County Council will be operating a voucher scheme which will enable those people whose download speeds are less than 2mbps to get a voucher to go towards the supply of an intermediate solution via Satellite technology. This voucher will pay for the installation charge (normally £300-400) but you will have to change Internet Service Provider to access these higher speeds. Please note, monthly broadband costs, may also increase as part of this change. We will provide more information when we have it.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme will take activated properties for Superfast Broadband from 85% to 95%. This starts from Autumn 2015 and more information on the schedule of upgrades will be coming later this year. If you find that you are not able to see when you are likely to get Superfast broadband from the current phase of work then our suggest is to wait until the Autumn when the news will be released.

More Information

Better Broadband for Suffolk:  Website | Twitter

Who to contact

If your community is struggling with poor Internet speeds or if you have concerns about the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme then please get in touch with Community Action Suffolk:
Matthew Morling, IT Manager
matthew.morling@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk
01473 345321

Community Action Suffolk plans to provide regular updates and features on the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme so that we can keep the voluntary and community sector updated with key information.

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