Fast Broadband in Lackford

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Recent communications with the Business Development Specialist looking after the Suffolk Better Broadband Programme at Suffolk County Council has revealed some interesting potential progress regarding Lackford gaining more reliable, and hopefully faster broadband. 

What follows are a number of statements made in recent communications. We will all need to wait until July at the earliest to know for sure whether Lackford will receive fast broadband, and then it may take a further year or so for any upgrades to go ahead.

I personally think this is a positive sign. In the meantime, please do keep registering interest for fast broadband with your current supplier. Also, should your current broadband be lower than 1.5 – 2.0 Mbps then please do ask your supplier why. Many houses in our village get at least these speeds, so everyone else should also.

 

The Suffolk Better Broadband Programme

The Suffolk Better Broadband Programme has secured government funding (£11.68m) and SCC funding (£11.68m) to intervene in the broadband market in Suffolk.  Under existing commercial activity, BT and Virgin Media served around 60% of Suffolk premises with fiber broadband. However, there was no commercial appetite to serve the remaining 40% of Suffolk, which were the more dispersed areas which were harder to reach and hence represented a weaker case for investment.  We have used our funding to extend the fiber coverage from 60% up to around 90%, and also provide an underpinning commitment to provide at least 2Mbps to everyone by the end of 2015.

  • The roll-out programme is progressing extremely well.  We are currently at around 26,000 premises passed. This is ahead of target by around three months.
  • By Autumn 2015, we will have served 100,000 premises, giving a total coverage in Suffolk of 90% fibre, and an underpinning commitment that 100% will get at least 2Mbps.
  • Phase one is completed. Phase two is underway, and phase three will be surveyed in the coming few weeks.
  • Areas which have gone live are published via the email alerts, and the website is up to date showing the coverage information.
  • A newsletter is being developed which will be based around the previous newsletters but also include detailed coverage information for current and next quarters of deployment.
  • We have secured an offer of additional funding to push coverage from our current 90% fiber target up towards 95%. We are currently leading the process nationally to spend this funding.  Local match will be required.  We expect to announce additional coverage June / July.  We won’t stop seeking funding and raising our coverage targets until everyone in Suffolk has the connection they need.

What about Lackford

Lackford is served from a green street cabinet located on the junction of Old Bury Rd and the main Mildenhall Road.  At the moment, our funding did not stretch to include this cabinet in our roll-out plan.  That is to say that it is in the 10% of the county which is not subject to a fibre upgrade, but is absolutely subject to our minimum commitment of at least 2Mbps by September next year.

However, the better news is that we have now secured additional funding, with which we are seeking to add  additional fibre coverage to Suffolk, pushing fiber coverage across the county up to the mid nineties.  We hope that this will provide for an upgrade for the Lackford green cabinet, bringing fiber broadband and hence excellent coverage into the village.  In terms of timescales for this, we are aiming to sign a contract for the additional coverage in July this year.  At that point we will know for sure if and when we will get fiber to Lackford (and in doing so deliver something much better than 2Mbps!).

The extra coverage which Lackford requires should run in parallel with the end of the existing roll-out, and also continue into mid 2016, so we wont know for sure until July.

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