Suffolk is set to receive next generation broadband through a wireless network thanks to a grant which has been awarded by the East of England Development Agency to Suffolk Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), a charitable organisation which tries to enable community self-help projects.
£250,000 has been awarded to help communities in the rural East of Suffolk get fast broadband access and also help homes and businesses in Parham gain fibre optic broadband through a mini fibre deployment.
"We know that traditional business models for delivering broadband and mobile services in rural areas are rarely profitable because of low population densities. These new approaches supported by ACRE, the Plunkett Foundation and the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (through the Big Society Broadband Initiative) whereby communities can help themselves are likely to be the most cost effective way forward. With the continual erosion of rural services the provision of next generation broadband is absolutely vital to the future wellbeing and prosperity of rural communities."Dr Wil Gibson, (CEO) Suffolk ACRE
The wireless network is expected to cover approximately 30,000 households and 4,000 businesses with access speeds of 50meg, and if take-up is good, it is hoped that coverage will be expanded to further rural areas of Suffolk. The mini fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployment in Parham will reach 100 homes, 20 businesses and the Framlingham Technology Centre. Communication providers are soon to be invited to tender for the project which is hoped will go live by the end of the year.