More than 1,500 properties to benefit from BDUK-backed programme by the end of 2013, with more to follow
Some homes and businesses in Suffolk could have faster broadband speeds by this autumn after BT Openreach started work on improving the county’s broadband network ahead of schedule.
More than 1,500 properties in Suffolk could benefit from the early rollout, which is part of a £40 million investment by the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme formed by BT and Suffolk County Council using funds from the government’s Broadband Deliver UK (BDUK) initiative.
Suffolk County Council and the county’s seven district and borough councils are providing £11.86 million, with the funds matched by BDUK and a further £18 million invested by BT.
Engineers from Openreach are now carrying out surveys in a number of locations, but it is unclear which areas will be the first to be upgraded. Suffolk County Council says it is most likely cabinets will be located on the edges of existing fibre coverage and in more rural locations.
Rollout should be completed by the end of 2015, with every property having access to broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps and 85 percent of premises able to receive superfast speeds of at least 24Mbps.
Suffolk County Council says the rollout will help aid businesses and offer better educational attainment and public services. The council estimates public sector organisations will be able to achieved £49 million of efficiency savings in the next 15 years and that the local economy will grow by £2 million, with 1,500 new jobs created.
“Through the process of agreeing with BT how the programme will be rolled out, it became clear that there were a number of quick wins that we could deliver which would mean people benefit earlier than expected,” said Councillor Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council’s leader and chair of the Better Broadband for Suffolk programme. “We’ve therefore pushed ahead with the programme and I’m delighted with the outcome.
“The Better Broadband for Suffolk programme was set up to improve broadband access for everyone and this is the first, real, sign that things are taking shape.”
BT has so far won all of the funding available under BDUK, which seeks to fund the deployment of superfast broadband into rural regions of the nation, prompting a European Union investigation to determine whether or not it amounted to state aid.
However, the EU gave its blessing late last year, paving the way for Ainderby Steeple in North Yorkshire to become the first settlement in the UK to benefit from BDUK funding.
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