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BT confirmed for Suffolk as every property guaranteed 2 Mbps
Tuesday 25 September 2012 14:57:40 by Andrew Ferguson

For those who believe BT winning the BDUK contracts is a bad thing it is a sad day as BT wins the contract for the USC and superfast coverage of Suffolk. For those just looking for better broadband and with little concern over who builds it, the news that the slowest connection will be 2 Mbps and that only 2% will have speeds less than 5 Mbps.

Suffolk County Council has confirmed the awarding of the contract to provide better broadband for Suffolk to BT, the council putting in £11.68m, matching the BDUK funding, with BT providing the balance to make a total of £40m of spending. As a result of this investment and the commercial roll-outs already underway in the county the situation with regards to broadband speeds is as follows:

  • 85% of premises will get superfast broadband at speeds of 24 Mbps or faster
  • 5% will get broadband speeds above 10 Mbps and below 24 Mbps
  • 8% will receive speeds between 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps
  • 2% will receive speeds between 2 Mbps and 5 Mbps
  • The minimum speed at any property will be 2 Mbps, as in 100% USC coverage

The £40m project covers some 135,650 properties across the county (39% of Suffolk), and 84% of these properties that currently get less than 2 Mbps now, will get a fibre based broadband service. We believe the speed improvements refer to what is available via an Openreach FTTC roll-out, so as 4G LTE services roll-out once the Ofcom 4G auction completes households may see further options for superfast broadband, and in 2013 those with the money to pay the higher fibre on demand install fees will also benefit from the reliability of a full fibre service, and its faster speeds.

Interestingly the timeline for spending the £40m suggests that this is the total investment for the next 15 years, which raises the question whether the County Council has decided to not try and pursue any of the potential EU funding for 2020 targets and forego any money from the £20m RCBF funding. Fifteen years is a long time in the broadband world, in fact 15 years ago broadband was more like a lab experiment that had escaped the lab cages to the odd street. Perhaps this time frame reflects what we would expect to be the time when BT is expecting to start ripping out the remainder of its copper network, and move to a fully fibre based network for both broadband and telephone services.


Posted by orudge over 5 years ago
Given that with a BT line you get a choice of providers, I'm not entirely sure why BT winning contracts should be seen as a bad thing. Is your house wired up with Virgin cable but you don't like their policies/support/IP address provision/traffic management? Tough, the ISP service is not unbundled from the physical line provision. At least with a "BT line", you have a wide choice of ISPs.
Posted by timmay over 5 years ago
"5% will get broadband speeds above 10 Mbps"

Is that right?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
5% between 10Mbps and 24Mbps is what I meant, and I've updated it to reflect that now
Posted by Saurus over 5 years ago
Perhaps that is why BT after allegedly fixing a fault in my area downgraded my line to 2Mbps max line limit from what was an up to 8Mbps with regular 5+Mbps connection? Following that fiasco Plusnet have now very kindly increased the line rental, Im currently using Wireless and will be checking out 3 mobile before the week is out and will exit if Im satisfied with the connection speed!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
@saurus Have you checked the router stats line faults can often result in target noise margin rising, slowing you down to make things stable This sometimes does not reduce after a fault has been fixed, or takes a long time to happen
Posted by stentifw over 5 years ago
Do people really think that 2Mbps will solve the Broadband requirements in rural areas? Secondly although 85% of households will go superfast, the poor 2% who will get 2Mbps occupy the vast majority of the AREA of Suffolk. Another solution is surely needed.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago

Suffolk CC has previously talked of a desire to get blanket 4G coverage, so pushing broadband into those fields and beaches on the coast.

This news is about the fixed line broadband element mainly.

2 Mbps is better than nothing, and EU aim is for 30 Mbps by 2020.
Posted by Saurus over 5 years ago
@saurus Have you checked the router stats line faults can often result in target noise margin rising,
Thanks but after clearing it up with my ISP: Plusnet, it was BT's fault and although rectified it still leaves me with a choice of 5Mbps and landline costs or 5Mbps and no landline costs with the BB costs around the same. Should 4G become available then that will also add more persuasion to ditching the landline costs.
Posted by Saurus over 5 years ago
Just to update on what i said in my first post, I have just tested 3 MIFI mobile broadband connecting at 10Mbps and no issues regarding latency with gameplay on Guild Wars 2.
So bye bye expensive over-priced low performance land line, hello speedy 3 Mobile Broadband! Roll on 4G!
Posted by Bob_s2 over 5 years ago
This does not seem to add up. £40M over 15 years to connect most of Suffolk as most seems to be less than 2Mbs at present and is 2Mbs going to be adequate now let alone in 15 years time. FTTC across the county with WiFi fromthe cabinets seems to be the best solution.

I thought the minimum the government wanted was 15Mbs?
Posted by pvfpvf over 5 years ago
Leaving aside line-of-sight radio, what technology can BT use to raise speeds to 2 Mbps at the end of long copper lines? (At my rural exchange the longest run is 6.7 Km)
Posted by BBSlowcoach over 5 years ago
I am in the slower 15% of the county. Exchange not unbundled of course. My line speed is measured as capable of 3.5Mbps my speed actual ranges between 0 & 3.2Mbps with most of my BB enjoyment in the 0 to 1Mbps range. I cannot imagine what a consistent minimum speed of 2Mbps must feel like!
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