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Better Broadband for Suffolk Update

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 October 2021

  • 97.46% of Suffolk premises currently able to receive superfast broadband – speeds greater than that of 24mbps. This is an increase of 0.2% since the last update.
  • 0.38% of properties in Suffolk have broadband speeds of less than 2mbps.
  • Openreach are now offering a new “connect the unconnected” scheme. Openreach will now offer to waive superfast activation fees for those on universal credit and who are not currently connected to their network. Openreach will no longer charge providers the £92 fee in these scenarios and it is up to the provider to decide what they do with that.
  • A Third contract has now started. This contract will supply 5150 properties Superfast Broadband over an 18 month period. Around 571 properties have already been commissioned and 1100 will be completed by end of December 2021. Surveys and planning of properties continues at pace despite initially being slightly below schedule.
  • 193 “public” buildings such as district and borough council buildings, NHS buildings now have full fibre broadband in them. There are due to be 300 buildings across 10 towns in total to be upgraded and this will hopefully complete in early January 2022. Further information can be found on this at https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/business/projects-and-programmes/suffolk-cloud-network/

FAQs

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. This is only open for areas classified as “Ofcom area 3” areas which are those most in need of Superfast or Gigabit broadband. 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.

I’ve heard about Project Gigabit from the government – what is happening in Suffolk?

This is a scheme to get Gigabit broadband coverage across the country. It is likely that 20% of the country won’t get Gigabit coverage through commercial means so this scheme is hoping to fill this gap. Suffolk County Council are currently involved in procurement with the government and that is likely to start in early 2021. The project itself will commence after this process has completed. The broadband voucher scheme noted above may have to be paused whilst this starts.

Please see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-new-5bn-project-gigabit for more information.

Beyond Community Action Suffolk – how else do I find 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
matthew.morling@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk
01473 345321