County council bosses confirm ‘broadband for everybody’

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SUFFOLK County Council has confirmed that it will work with BT to provide universal broadband coverage in the next three years.

As part of the county’s Better Broadband for Suffolk programme, every household and business premise will be guaranteed broadband speeds of at least two megabits per second by 2015 and 85 per cent will be able to access superfast coverage.

Suffolk County Council as well as district and borough council’s are investing £11.68 million to match the Government’s pledge for the project.

Bosses at the authority hope the move will help businesses develop, improve educational attainment and transform public services.

Cllr Mark Bee, leader of the county council and chairman of the Better Broadband programme, said: “When we launched the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign, we wanted to ensure that everyone who lives and works in our county benefits. Today I’m proud to say that we will deliver exactly that.

“Improving access to broadband is going to help Suffolk’s economy grow by as much as 20% and create up to 5000 new jobs. There’s a digital divide between Suffolk and the rest of the country but an even more acute disparity between urban and rural Suffolk. The Better Broadband programme is going to close those gaps, boost school attainment and help the public sector to deliver services more efficiently and cheaply.

“By the end of the year, the first properties are going to start benefiting from the programme and within three years, broadband access across Suffolk is going to be unrecognisable from what it is today.”

A contract between the county council and BT is expected to be finalised by mid-October and formally awarded by the end of the month.