Latest update from the Better Broadband for Suffolk meeting (20 December 2017)

December 20, 2017

Categories: IT Services | Rural issues

Community Action Suffolk continues to regularly attend the Better Broadband for Suffolk Stakeholder Board meeting hosted by Suffolk County Council.

This meeting provides us an opportunity to feedback concerns we hear from your communities but also to hear the very latest plans and updates and how the Better Broadband for Suffolk scheme is running.

Here are the updates from the meeting on Wednesday 20 December 2017:

Highlights

  • Suffolk County Council is still on target to be able to reach 98% of premises by end of 2020 with an extension to the current contract
  • BT’s installation progress of the second contract is slightly behind schedule as it stands but they have committed extras resource which should get them back on track. It’s important note that no public money is paid to BT from Suffolk County Council unless they continue to hit their targets
  • Currently there has been over 48% take-up (orders) of Superfast broadband from those homes covered in the first contract that has already ended and this should go above 50% within the next one to two months
  • £3.9million has already been “clawed back” from BT as a result of take-up being over 20% and because of this excellent take up from the first contract and now the second contract is it likely that Suffolk County Council will be able to “claw back” a further £16 million which will be re-invested to help fund the final 2% of Suffolk premises which currently aren’t guaranteed to get Superfast Broadband by the end of 2020.

For those people who are still without Superfast broadband it appears that there are no plans to get an upgrade any time soon. We are aware that some of the “good news” stories around targets and take-up are not really applicable.

Community Action Suffolk takes a very active part in trying to put pressure on Suffolk County Council and BT wherever possible. We can also assure you that from all the meetings we have attended over the past couple of years we have always been heartened by Suffolk County Council’s commitment to aiming for 100% coverage of Superfast Broadband.

It is clear that the percentage of properties that Suffolk County Council and BT will be covering has increased over the past couple of years from around 95 to 98%. It is all our belief that with the money clawed back from BT and additional funding sources, 99% of properties should now be covered.

This will now inevitably lead to a discussion around a “final 1%”. Despite very recent news from the government around good speed broadband being a legal obligation from 2020, it is unclear whether they will be funding these improvements, or indeed who will fund these improvements.

All of us are committed to this 100% marker so it may be that innovative funding solutions are sought, this is on-going.


How do I check whether I can get or when I will be able to get Superfast Fibre Broadband?

Visit www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com and use the “My Location” box on the right hand side and enter your postcode.

Speeds of less than 2mbps?

Suffolk County Council & BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) are operating a Satellite/Wireless broadband voucher scheme which would fund most, if not all of the installation of either Satellite or Wireless broadband – if your speeds are less than 2mbps and the Satellite or Wireless provider operates in your area. If you have a broadband connection which gives you speeds of less than 2mbps then visit www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com/ApplicationForm.aspx and complete the form. Please note, you still need to pay any monthly charges associated with any subscription.

Can communities assist in any way?

“Self-dig” schemes where a local land owner or farm owner digs the trenches where Fibre cabling is required to go is one away of communities working together to get Superfast broadband in their area. Suffolk County Council are very receptive to these types of schemes so if you know a local land owner or farmer and you know that Superfast broadband is unlikely to come to your property then a self-dig scheme may be a good option for your community. The only requirement for a self dig scheme is that there is a “Fibre to the Premise (FTTP)” point relatively nearby. If you are interested in this option then please contact broadband@suffolk.gov.uk and they can assist you with your query. There are currently 2 schemes active in Capel St Andrew and Shotley which will help 84 premises in getting Superfast broadband when they otherwise may not have done.

Matthew Morling, IT Manager
matthew.morling@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk
01473 345321