Waveney MP Peter Aldous has welcomed Suffolk County Council’s decision to award a contract to BT to help improve broadband speeds across the whole of the county.
The £40m project will guarantee that:
-every business and household has 100% broadband coverage at a minimum download speed of 2mbps by 2015;
-98% of premises will benefit from speeds greater than 5mps;
-90% will benefit from a minimum 10mbps improvement in internet speed;
-85% will have access to superfast fibre-based broadband that will run at speeds in excess of 24 mbps.
These improvements will come as a welcome change to those who have for many years suffered with a slow and unreliable service in ‘not-spot’ areas such as on Crestview Drive in Lowestoft and villages such as the Saints. The Enterprises Zones around Lowestoft and Beccles will get a further boost from an accelerated programme of improvements, with superfast broadband being guaranteed to them and the surrounding areas before the end of 2013.
Mr Aldous said:
“I am very pleased that broadband access will now be available across the Waveney area and this in turn should provide considerable economic benefits in terms of encouraging businesses to grow and to move into the area and to provide more jobs.
Suffolk has for too long been trailing behind other counties in terms of broadband connection speeds yet following the hard work of the County Council and the local broadband team, areas such as Waveney where it has been difficult to provide comprehensive superfast broadband coverage will finally receive the necessary funding to do so.
All in all, this is excellent news and I commend all those who have been working on the project.”
Councillor Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council’s Leader and Chairman of the Better Broadband for Suffolk 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.
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.”
By the end of the scheme in 2015, Suffolk will be transformed from one of the most underdeveloped counties in terms of broadband infrastructure to one of the top four. It has been estimated that this competitive edge will generate at least £2bn in additional economic activity for the area.
The contract between BT and Suffolk County Council will be formally finalised by the end of October and is subject to a final approval on state aid grounds. Peter Aldous is liaising with the Government to ensure that the necessary approval is as forthcoming as soon as possible. The first improvements are scheduled to start before the end of 2012.
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