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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 April 2022

  • 97.5% of Suffolk premises currently able to receive superfast broadband – speeds greater than that of 24mbps.
  • Approximate 60% take up of new fibre connections from Openreach’s work
  • 11 exchange areas inc Bungay, Saxmundham, Kentford, Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds, Blundeston Stowmarket, Sudbury, Lowestoft, Felixstowe and Halesworth are currently undergoing Fibre upgrades.
  • Fibre City project in Ipswich is currently starting work to improve Fibre broadband infrastructure in the town.
  • A Third contract is now in action. This contract will supply 5150 properties Superfast Broadband before December 2022. Around 2024 properties have already been commissioned.
  • The “LORAWAN” project is ongoing. Lorawan is a low powered wireless network primarily used for sensors and other low end data submissions for local governement and fire station buildings. 61 gateways have been installed across the county. There are plans to reach 80-90 gateways in total. Practical examples of the uses of these sensors is in “smart bins” and “smart lighting” around the county. More information can be found at https://www.innovationnetwork.uk/

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. It may also be worth considering looking at alternative options like Satellite or Wireless broaband – please visit https://betterbroadbandsuffolk.com/alternative-options to see more information on this.

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.. 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