Suffolk Secures £1.725m Broadband Deal

Suffolk successful in winning £1.725 million in extra funding for business broadband roll out

Suffolk County Council, working in partnership with West Suffolk Council, East Suffolk Council of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney, and Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils has been successful in securing £1.725 million from the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, which will contribute to providing Superfast Broadband access to many businesses across Suffolk’s most rural areas, who are not in plans to receive Superfast Broadband as part of the current fibre broadband rollout.

The funding will cover connection to over 550 businesses across the county where current internet speeds are limited to lower speed connection methods. On top of the business connections this funding will also reach a further 600 non-business-related premises who will be able to upgrade to superfast speeds. 

Suffolk has been at the forefront of fibre broadband rollout, via its Better Broadband for Suffolk Program, since 2010 and currently the county enjoys a superfast broadband coverage of 93%, with the current contract due to reach 98% by 2020.  This additional funding will contribute towards meeting some of the remaining 2% of the county that is not covered by the existing contracts.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure said: “This is great news for Suffolk and really underlines the success we have when local councils work together. With 98% of Suffolk already funded to receive Superfast Broadband, we are doing all we can to reach the remaining businesses and residents, so I congratulate the teams on securing this funding. By helping businesses to go Superfast, we are enabling them to unlock new ways of working, access new online markets and helping them grow and be successful.”

In a joint statement, the Leaders of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils, Cllrs Ray Herring and Mark Bee, said: “This additional funding is great news for the businesses and people of East Suffolk. We boast the strongest economy in the county, but need to have effective, fast internet to keep driving forward. Traditionally, it is the rural areas such as ours who have suffered from poor connectivity, so this will allow us to compete locally, nationally and internationally with the best on a level playing field.”

Work on connecting these new areas will begin later in 2019.