A funding package of £1.725 million has been released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to Suffolk in a bid to improve broadband networks across the rural parts of the county.
This specific department within the UK government is aiming to increase internet speeds to “superfast broadband” levels of 24Mbps or more to ensure that a further 550 businesses and 600 non-corporate locations (homes, community centres, etc.) are supported across Suffolk.
Presently, the county has already achieved a superfast broadband coverage of 93 per cent as a result of a £64 million cash injection from the Better Broadband for Suffolk (BBS) project and Openreach – an increase from just 50 per cent in 2013.
The goal is to hit 98 per cent by the end of 2020.
Leader of Suffolk County Council, Matthew Hicks, said: “This is great news for Suffolk and really underlines the success we have when local councils work together. With 98 per cent of Suffolk already funded to receive superfast broadband, we are doing all we can to reach the remaining businesses and residents, so I congratulate the teams on securing this funding.
“By helping businesses to go superfast, we are enabling them to unlock new ways of working, access new online markets and helping them grow and be successful.”
Suffolk is historically known for being one of the UK’s most poorly connected rural areas. Despite this reputation, local authorities have been stating that they are “committed to reaching 100 per cent superfast broadband coverage in Suffolk as quickly as possible.” The recent investment boost is an indication of the county’s willingness to close the gap between 98 per cent coverage and complete network access throughout the region.
Although it has not been made clear as to how the money will be used to improve superfast broadband, work is set to begin “later in 2019” to connect new areas.