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Poor broadband speeds creates a ‘digital divide’ between rural and urban areas of Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 06:00 29 January 2016 | UPDATED: 07:46 29 January 2016

MP Dan Poulter is continuing to fight for better broadband in rural Suffolk

MP Dan Poulter is continuing to fight for better broadband in rural Suffolk

Archant

A Suffolk MP has branded broadband speeds as “unacceptable” in his constituency, which is rated in the bottom 20% of the country for high-speed internet connections.

Dan Poulter said a “digital divide” was being created between urban and rural areas in some places and felt forcing BT to sell off Openreach to increase competition – suggested in a Government report – would be a good idea.

Dr Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said: “One of my major concerns for a long time has been the unreliability and slow speed of broadband services in Suffolk.

“Access to high speed broadband is an essential part of our lives in the 21st Century and affects all aspects of it, from education and farming to wellbeing and health.

“Central Suffolk and North Ipswich falls into the bottom 20% of parliamentary constituencies for the number of connections with speeds slower than 10 megabits per second (required by Ofcom). The situation is also bad for business, with 42% of small and medium-sized enterprises reporting problems with their internet connection, at an estimated £11bn cost to the economy.

“We need to start converting to a fully fibre network so we are not left behind the other nations who are rushing to embrace digital advancement. The ‘Broadbad Report’ makes the case that formal separation of BT from Openreach will bring fresh competition and a concerted ambition to deliver, which will create the broadband service that we all need in Suffolk and I have written to the Minister again to press for this.”

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said more than 90% of UK premises could access superfast broadband.

He said selling off Openreach would “create huge uncertainty and create a weaker company that ultimately could be vulnerable to takeover”.

A top primary school in Martlesham Heath has been given Ofsted’s top rating of ‘outstanding’ in its latest inspection – the first time it achieved the benchmark rating in 50 years.

Women from Suffolk have described how their lives were rocked by “unfair” changes to pension laws.

Murray Park in Ipswich is set to get a trim trail as the latest measure to improve facilities.

A new road, which ran almost £5m over budget, faces fresh controversy after it emerged a council employee involved in the project also completed work for the road’s developers through his private company.

Two high-end cycles – worth £10,000 in total – were stolen after burglars broke into a garage in Elmsett, near Hadleigh.

Refugee and asylum seeking women living in Suffolk say getting to grips with the English language is one of the biggest challenges they face.

A damning dossier compiled by a senior whistleblower from the region’s ambulance trust has claimed at least 40 patients died or were harmed due to delays over Christmas and New Year - including one person who froze to death.

A century ago, in December 1917, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, one of the most famous residents of Aldeburgh, died, writes Dr Lucy Harvard.

A senior whistleblower within the region’s ambulance trust has claimed up to 80 people could have died or come to harm because of delays over the Christmas and New Year period.

A three-vehicle crash in Kesgrave this afternoon caused a road to be blocked for more than two hours.

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