Join Our Network

Better Broadband for Suffolk: update

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

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’s an update from the Better Broadband for Suffolk Stakeholder Board meeting held on 21 June 2017.

  • Suffolk County Council is still committed to ensuring 96% of Superfast broadband coverage (above 15mbps) by end of 2019
  • Suffolk County Council is also still on target to be able to reach 98% of premises by end of 2020 with an extension to the current contract
  • With 350,000 properties in Suffolk this will leave around 7,000 properties across the whole county with no current plans to get Superfast broadband
  • Currently there has been over 43% take-up (orders) of Superfast broadband from those homes covered in the first contract that has already ended. Currently there is 31% take-up of Superfast services from the second contract which is currently in operation. Because this take-up has passed thresholds set within the contracts £3.9million has been able to be clawed back which has allowed Suffolk County Council to increase their target to 98% by the end of 2020. Further take-up from these contracts that pass thresholds will enable further claw-back of funds and potentially funded the final 2%.

For those people who are still without Superfast broadband and for those it appears that there are no plans to get an upgrade any time soon it can be incredibly frustrating. Living in the 21 Century we all require decent broadband speeds to be able to carry on with our lives, however there are general positives to be taken.

Two to three years ago we were always discussing the final 5% but now thanks to good use of funds and good take-up this figure is now 2% (10,000 less properties). Suffolk County Council is broadly committed to trying to get 100% coverage and we are continuing to work with them and put pressure on them to not rest on their laurels to ensure that we ALL can benefit from the programme.

Suffolk County Council and BT are currently looking at different technologies that may enable this 2% to be covered in a different way or by working on better modelling techniques to make better use of funds.

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 insert 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 and complete the form. Please note, you still need to pay any monthly charges associated with any subscription.

Can communities assist in any way?

If this issue affects a wider community then many voices are always better than one. If this is the case then email broadband@suffolk.gov.uk and they may be able to suggest some different options, such as self dig schemes, where a local farmer or estate owner could do a lot of the expensive digging work to assist in bringing forward any potential upgrades. Working together as a local community, you may also be able to go to wireless broadband providers and as a community “club together” and get wireless broadband installed for your community by sharing the install costs. There may also be funding available from your local parish councils or district councils to assist you with this. A recent change has meant that if you do have speeds of less than 2mbps currently then you would be able to use the value of the voucher mentioned above (around £350) to be put towards a self-build scheme. An example of this is in Baylham Stone where people have worked together recently to self dig a trench to allow Fibre cables to be routed. The end result of this is that BT were able to then prioritise this and quickly get 12 properties in a small hamlet that wouldn’t have otherwise got connected.

Local District Council funds

If you have checked www.betterbroadbandsuffolk.com and it suggests you are not likely to get broadband even before 2019 then check with your local district council. Some district councils do have pots of money available to the general public that may enable you to fund a satellite, wireless or other installation to improve your broadband speeds.