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Moves to get faster broadband welcomed by MP

Monday, 2nd July 2012.

Haverhill's MP Matthew Hancock has welcomed the announcement of an important milestone in the campaign to secure better broadband for Suffolk.

Suffolk County Council has invited companies to bid for the contract, worth over £40 million, to improve Suffolk’s broadband infrastructure. It is one of the first four counties to do so.

The two companies bidding for the contract, British Telecom (BT) and Fujitsu, now have until September 7 to make their case. When the work is complete, it will create a broadband network in Suffolk fit for the 21st century.

The aim of the programme is to extend access to broadband to the areas of Suffolk which currently have slow speeds.

By 2015, over 90 per cent of premises in the county will be able to access superfast broadband. The remaining ten per cent will have had a significant increase in available speed and reliability.

Suffolk County Council will hold a special cabinet meeting on September 20 where leaders of the county’s seven district and borough councils, Suffolk’s MPs and business and voluntary group representatives will be invited to discuss a recommendation on selecting a supplier. The contract will be awarded on October 8.

By the end of the year, the first businesses and homes should be connected.

Commenting on the announcement, Matthew said: “It is great to hear that Suffolk County Council has moved so quickly to invite bids for this contract. Having access to a 21st century broadband network is vital for my constituents and businesses in West Suffolk.

“Awarding the contract in October cannot come soon enough. When it comes to choosing, the winning bid must have strong plans for ensuring superfast broadband coverage extends to even the most rural areas of Suffolk.”

Cllr Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council’s leader and chair of the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign, said: “This is a hugely significant milestone in the Better Broadband programme.

"We’ve got the public funding in place, overwhelming public support behind us and now we’re one of the first four counties to actively go out to the market and invite bids.

“I’m thrilled by the progress we’ve made and look forward to seeing the results of all the hard work begin to materialise in the coming months.”

The latest milestone comes after an overwhelmingly positive response from more than 12,000 Suffolk businesses and residents. This smashed the 10,000 target set by Mark Bee.

Suffolk County Council has pledged £10 million towards the total cost of the project. The Government is investing £11.6 million. The public funding will be matched by an equal amount of private funding from the successful supplier.

Haverhill Online News

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