County makes final push for Better Broadband campaign

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BUSINESSES and residents are being urged to back a campaign to bring superfast broadband to Suffolk.

Suffolk County Council issued the clarion call as people have less than one month to complete surveys to demonstrate the demand for an improved service to attract potential suppliers.

The authority has already received 5,438 responses from households with another 1,299 submitted by businesses in the county.

Council leader Mark Bee, who is chairman of the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign, wants at least 10,000 completed surveys to help deliver the £41.7 million project.

He said: “We’ve spoken to thousands of people, an overwhelming majority of which have pledged their firm backing for what we’re trying to achieve.

“We’re now entering the home straight for the survey so if people haven’t signed up yet, now’s the time. We absolutely must demonstrate to ministers and potential suppliers that Suffolk is serious about superfast broadband.”

Already £21 million of public investment has been secured to improve the service, which is one of the poorest broadband networks in the country.

Council bosses say the move will ‘help local businesses grow, improve educational attainment and remove a major block to public service transformation’.

Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “There are well over 25,000 businesses in Suffolk, many of which would benefit from superfast broadband.

“It’s essential that as many companies as possible back the campaign.”

n On Friday, a conference with 250 people expected from across Suffolk including MPs, businesses and public sector representatives will be held at The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds, to discuss the rollout of the programme.

Surveys can be found at www.suffolk.gov.uk/broadband