Community Action Suffolk continues to regularly attend the Suffolk Broadband and Digital Connectivity Working Group 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.
Highlights – up to end of Jan 2021
- 97.45% of Suffolk premises currently able to receive superfast broadband – speeds greater than that of 24mbps (An increase of approximately 0.5% in the last quarter)
- 0.9% of properties in Suffolk have broadband speeds of less than 2mbps
- Suffolk Cloud Network is a new network infrastructure project that will provide fast, highly flexible network connections to public sector sites in Suffolk. The network is provided by MLL Telecoms, in partnership with CityFibre. The new fibre network will extend to over 300 public sector sites in Suffolk (the Suffolk Cloud Network). The towns covered by this include Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Haverhill, Ipswich, Mildenhall, Newmarket, Stowmarket, Sudbury, Woodbridge. Up to the end of January 2021 97 sites have had Fibre installed and 40 have actually fully migrated to the new system.
- A Third contract is now starting and scoping and planning work is ongoing. There was hope within Openreach that some properties would already be Fibre upgraded but they have had some issues in the planning and scoping data not matching up.
- The third contract won’t deliver 100% of properties but will get us closer to the stated desire of complete “superfast” coverage in Suffolk of Suffolk County Council
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 “Can you connect” menu item along the top and then follow the instructions on the page
I’m a business or community and really need better connectivity – what can i do?
There is a voucher scheme available for businesses in rural areas, where they can get up to £3,500 towards the installation of a “full fibre” solution i.e. one from the exchange to the business premise. This may pay for the whole of the installation but in some cases may not – in this scenario you would need to pay the balance. Please visit the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme page to find out more or go to the Government site to find out more. This has been a very under publicised scheme so please make use of it. If you want to join together with a pool of businesses or properties within a community then you can pool your vouchers to install Fibre in a particular location.
This scheme in only active till March 2021 so please act swiftly if you want to use this voucher.
What is happening to the Voucher Scheme after March 2021?
This initial scheme will close but there are final negotiations with the government ongoing about a new scheme and this is likely to be announced in the coming few weeks. It is likely to be similar although some criteria may differ and there may be different voucher values which may provide beneficial for communities. Suffolk County Council are assisting with top up vouchers around community schemes to help communities who are not in the plans for Fibre to the cabinet or FTTP so if you are part of a community who are not likely to be covered by the Suffolk plans then please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Beyond Community Action Suffolk – how else do i found out about what Suffolk County Council are doing?
You can subscribe to the Suffolk County Council newsletter or you can view their previous newsletters at https://betterbroadbandsuffolk.com/about/subscribe-to-our-newsletter
Matthew Morling, IT Manager