Thousands sign pledge for faster broadband

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SUPPORT for Better Broadband for Suffolk is so great the campaign has beaten its sign-up target.

The county-backed campaign thought it was being ambitious in hoping 10,000 households and businesses would sign their support to demonstrate its viability to would-be providers.

But on Monday, the campaign confirmed 12,179 signatures of which 1,786 are businesses.

Cllr Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council leader and chairman of Better Broadband for Suffolk, said: “We’ve been truly overwhelmed by the response to the campaign. It shows just how important improving our broadband network is to Suffolk’s businesses and residents.

“Now we have the county’s clear backing, our next step is to tender for a supplier to build the network. We hope that by the end of the year, the first properties will start benefiting from this important programme.”

The aim is to start with places that have the worst broadband service, which Cllr Bee has called ‘the fourth utility’.

The campaign hopes to have chosen a provider by September and the plan is for 85 to 90 per cent of the county to have high speed broadband and the rest to get at least two megabits per second (Mbps) by 2015.

A map produced by the campaign shows that most of the county has speeds below 4Mbps and the largest area with speeds below 2Mbps is the corner of the county between Bury St Edmunds and the Cambridgeshire border.

Some rural areas get below 0.5Mbps.