Suffolk County Council, together with several local councils throughout Suffolk, has announced it intends funding high speed broadband development in the county to the tune of £10 million over a four year period.
The move follows a recent failure on the part of the County to win a £20 million subsidy from the UK government’s Broadband Delivery UK scheme – an initiative designed to increase high speed broadband penetration throughout the UK. The Council now intends submitting a fresh bid to try and secure a matching £10 million from the government.
If the Council succeeds in its new bid, there may then be attempts to secure further investment from private companies, possibly in conjunction with neighbouring Norfolk County Council.
This latest attempt by Suffolk County Council to kick-start the expansion of high speed broadband in the county is known to have the full support of business leaders and five local MPs, including MP for Bury St Edmunds, David Ruffley.
Commenting on the development, Mr Ruffley said: ‘It is absolutely vital that Suffolk gets broadband…If Suffolk does not do something now there is a real danger we would be left behind – and that would be a disaster for the whole county’.
Mr Ruffley’s concerns mirror those of other senior business and community leaders in outlying areas up and down the country.
All of these high profile figures have pointed out that without adequate broadband provision, not only will business communications be greatly impeded, but added value services such as money-saving business VoIP (voice over internet protocol) and internet protocol (IP) telephony, might not be accessible – even with the assistance of a remote host business VoIP provider or VoIP reseller.
A decision by the government on whether to match the Suffolk County Council investment is expected at the end of July.