Suffolk Council awards £75 million contract for new WAN

The Suffolk County Council has signed a 20-year contract with MLL Telecom worth £75 million contract to extend the county’s existing wide area network (WAN). It is anticipated that connections to over 600 public sector sites will be made.

The rollout will start with 10 towns; Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Haverhill, Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Sudbury, Stowmarket, Mildenhall and Newmarket.

MLL has partnered with CityFibre to build, operate and deliver a 114km dark fibre spine network across the 10 towns and connect over 300 sites to a future-proof network that will deliver gigabit speeds.

Chris Bally, deputy chief executive at Suffolk Council, said: “Through this new 114km fibre network, our councils, NHS clinics, fire stations and more will be able to access leading edge connectivity, which will have a real economic and social impact in the region.

“Better, more reliable internet access for our public services will bring untold benefits – like more investment, more jobs, and more businesses. We couldn’t be happier to get this work underway, and to welcome the next generation of public service delivery.”

The project has been made possible through an investment of £5.9 million from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as a third instalment of its Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Challenge Fund.

A large part of the project is expected to focus heavily on delivering social value to the county and enabling local digital skills to be developed and retained in the area.

Neil Woolerton, the director of client management at MLL, said: “Our focus is on enabling the public sector in Suffolk to work anywhere, anytime, with connectivity that is up to ten times faster than any other region in the UK as standard."

There are also plans to work with the council and the University of Suffolk to provide apprenticeship training programmes and courses.