PUTTING SUFFOLK’S CASE TO THE GOVERNMENT: NO DIGITAL DIVIDE IN OUR COUNTY

JohnWhittnigdale, the Secretary of State for Clture, Media and Sport visited Suffolk last week to see what we are up to on the delivery of superfast broadband and I had the honour of leading the team from the county council who met him.

We put our case for the Government to commit to fund the roll out of highspeed broadband to the final few per cent of premises in the county. My mantra for the meeting was: there can be no digital divide, no digital discrimination in Suffolk.johnwhittdale

We have asked him back to speak at an event we are planning for the autumn when we hope to announce not just the completion of the first highspeed broadband contract but the details of  the roll out of the second contract and the arrangements for meeting the Universal Service Commitment – the scheme to ensure all premises currently with less than 2Mbps are upgraded to at least that by the end of the year.

We estimate the roll out of the first contract will cost on average £300 per proprety, the second will cost about £600 and the final few per cent will cost about £1,200. The expense comes comes the premises to be connected are fewer and farther between in the more remote and rura parts of Suffolk. Much of the money will be sent on just getting the fibre to the communities which is why in the final stage we want to work with BT and communities on innovative ways to deliver a universal, county wide highspeed broadband service.