Suffolk County Council was one of the earlier councils to sign its BDUK contract with BT in September 2012 that is set to bring speeds of over 24 Mbps to 85% of premises in the county, building on the existing commercial coverage. Therefore it is no surprise to hear that they are looking at starting the procurement process to reach a 95% superfast coverage figure in 2014.
The higher coverage of 95% will be part financed by the £250m the Government has earmarked for spending in 2015 to 2017, but the County Council (and district councils most likely) will be expected to add to whatever is allocated to each county and additional investment from whoever becomes the commercial partner. The new mini-competition needs to be undertook to satisfy EU State Aid regulations, and unless there is a firm that believes it can make a it work for them we really do expect BT to win this next round of competition. The Open Market Review for this next round will be very interesting, as it will need to take into account the existing BDUK project too, but will also allow for areas where the commercial roll-outs gave up.
|Broadband Speeds Across Suffolk|
|District Council||Median Download||Median Upload||%'age < 2 Mbps||%'age > 30 Mbps|
|Babergh District Council||6.3 Mbps||0.71 Mbps||22.2%||14.8%|
|Forest Heath District Council||8.7 Mbps||0.86 Mbps||14.7%||13.2%|
|Ipswich Borough Council||19.2 Mbps||1.97 Mbps||6.1%||31.8%|
|Mid Suffolk District Council||4.2 Mbps||0.39 Mbps||23.9%||8%|
|St Edmundsbury Borough Council||6.7 Mbps||0.68 Mbps||19.8%||17.9%|
|Suffolk Coastal District Council||6.8 Mbps||0.76 Mbps||15.2%||14.3%|
|Waveney District Council||12.8 Mbps||0.97 Mbps||15.2%||20%|
The difference across the various district councils is significant, and while the current project to increase superfast broadband coverage is underway and people are starting to benefit it looks clear that the Mid Suffolk area is the one that still needs significant improvements. Hence the level of comments about slow speeds that still emerge from Suffolk and other parts of the UK.