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Suffolk moves towards a 95% superfast broadband coverage target
Monday 20 January 2014 12:36:20 by Andrew Ferguson

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%
NOTE: The percentage figures reflect those people running our speed test, thus are more a reflection of take-up, rather than availability of a service. The extra price for faster services means many choose to stay on a reasonable speed ADSL/ADSL2+ service.

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.


Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
"The percentage figures reflect those people running our speed test, thus are more a reflection of take-up, rather than availability of a service. " You also have to note the significant number of ADSL notspots for which you will have no results or ones based on other technologies.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Given that generally not spots are not a cliff, but rather due to distance are surrounded by other slow areas, the testing will give an idea of areas that are more affected by slow spots.

We also encompass many more providers than the Ofcom based testing.
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
I am not knocking your stats Andrew - and certainly the Ofcom ones are so limited as to not be worth the paper they are written on, I am just suggesting they may not reflect the ADSL speeds. For example a village served by an Altnet may not show up as a notspot.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
If we know about the Altnet then no reason they won't show up, if they provide IP block info

Knowing about an ISP for speed test purposes is simpler than getting a full listing.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
When North Yorkshire got their extra allocation (out of the original £530m), they were open to new providers even without a new OMR.

As BDUK are getting more receptive of wireless for the final 5% of the UK, we might find that the most rural counties (like NY, Cumbria, Devon and maybe even Suffolk) are willing to consider it for infill for their 90%->95% allocation.

I wouldn't be quite so sure that BT will walk away with all the money this time.
Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
I also note that the story doesn't indicate how much has been allocated to Suffolk.

I saw that SFNY reported back to the county council that they need to hear about allocation soon; their (extended) project is now due to complete in early 2015, and they need financing decisions sorted out by then in order to keep the team together and working on the next phase.

I wonder what the county allocations are? Or when we'll find out?
Posted by gerarda over 3 years ago
Suffolk wanted a wireless overlay for the original contract but the EU/BDUK/BT ruled it out
Somehow BT managed to get the all the money to cover the resulting much reduced area
Posted by abovingdon over 3 years ago
What I don't understand is why our council is not focusing this money on areas which are less commercially viable for the major infrastructure providers? shows a big percentage of the county outside major settlement has no plans. Yet these harder, less viable areas are surely where most of the money should be spent to ensure net-equality. Areas of highest population density will take care of themselves as part of BTs or Virgins standard commercial rollout – why is the council paying to subsidise standard big-company strategy?
Posted by FlossyThePig over 3 years ago
I'm due to get FTTC tomorrow with a predicted 6-11Mbps download. Just within the Ipswich town boundary but I'll still be part of the 5% have nots.
Posted by jaycee58 over 3 years ago
I'm in an area of Suffolk that appears to have no plans. I have a download speed of 1.2Mb/s and I only get that by using a router which allows me to adjust the signal to noise ratio margin. Previous to that I was only getting 0.5Mb/s.

I shall be writing to BetterBroadbandSuffolk in the next few days in an attempt to find out if I will ever get a decent speed under the scheme. If not, I'll be taking the plunge and getting ludicrously expensive satellite broadband.
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