Campaign launched for faster broadband

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to bring faster broadband to Suffolk amid fears the county is being left behind in the digital revolution.

SUFFOLK: A campaign has been launched to bring faster broadband to Suffolk amid fears the county is being left behind in the digital revolution.

While some areas of the UK are now starting to enjoy super-fast connections of up to 40Mb/s, there are many parts of Suffolk which are unable to access the government recommended minimum of 2Mb/s.

Telecoms giant BT aims to supply super-fast broadband to 40 per cent of UK homes by 2012. But Suffolk's residents are not yet among them.

The Government has proposed its own �1billion investment through a �6-a-year “broadband tax” which would be used to help people in remote rural areas get up to speed.

But some say this, too, may not impact on Suffolk for some time because of its current poor online infrastructure.

Campaigners are now appealing to the public and businesses to vote urgently online for Suffolk to receive a broadband grant after concerns the county could become a “watchword for inequality” and suffer economically.

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The Suffolk Broadband partnership, made up of Suffolk County Council, BT and business and tourism groups, is hoping to persuade the East of England Development Agency to part with �5million for upgrades.

Andy Wood, head of brewers Adnams and chairman of Choose Suffolk, one of the bodies involved in the campaign, said: “Suffolk is a county characterised by generally poor broadband access and this is proving to be a significant disadvantage for business growth and community inclusion.

“Businesses not only lose out on contracts but also lose overall competitiveness against their better equipped peers in other areas of the country where broadband access is faster.”

BT is continuing to invest in its 21st Century Network, which currently offers speeds of up to 20Mb/s in Ipswich and Lowestoft.

A spokesman for BT said: “No organisation has done more than BT to make 'Broadband Britain' a reality.

“Only 25 per cent of the plans for the super-fast broadband programme have been announced so far, so it is clearly far too early to conclude that any area of the country has been 'excluded'.”

To vote for faster broadband, go to www.suffolk.gov.uk and then click on Speed up Suffolk.

Is Suffolk being left behind in the broadband revolution? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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