The Suffolk County Council in England has officially confirmed that their £64m state aid supported Better Broadband for Suffolk (BBS) project with Openreach (BT) will achieve 98% coverage of “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) capable (FTTC/P) networks by the end of 2020 as hoped (up from over 93% today).
So far the BBS programme, which is also supported by the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK scheme and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP), is said to have delivered an additional 967 “structures” in order to provide superfast broadband coverage to over 110,000 premises (additional) that were not previously in any commercial deployment plans. As a result consumers in related areas should be able to order faster “fibre” based services from a variety of different ISPs.
The 98% target itself is actually nothing new and they’ve been speaking about it as an aspiration for awhile (here), although this now seems to have been firmed up. Meanwhile the BBS website continues to state that they’re “committed to reaching 100% superfast broadband coverage in Suffolk as quickly as possible,” although at present there is no firm contract or funding to help tackle the final 2% of “hardest to reach” areas.
Councillor Matthew Hicks said:
“We have now confirmed that we will achieve 98% superfast broadband coverage by the end of 2020, which highlights our commitment to connecting Suffolk. We have already seen an increase in delivery, with 137 new structures built last quarter. This equates to approximately 3,000 additional premises receiving a new superfast broadband connection.
With this agreement in place, Openreach will continue to ensure that we meet our ambitious goal. In the meantime, we will continue to look for further funding opportunities to work on delivery to the final 2%.
It is important to remind everyone that speeds will not increase on their own. Once a fibre broadband connection has been enabled, individuals will need to contact an internet service provider and ask to upgrade to a superfast broadband service so that they can benefit from the faster speeds.”
Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said:
“We’re making great progress across Suffolk and our partnership shows what can be achieved when government and the private sector works closely together.
It was pleasing to hear these efforts recognised by Jo Churchill MP, and now we’re getting on with the job of extending faster, more reliable broadband services even further across the county, particularly to some of the most remote rural communities.”