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Extra time to back Suffolk's broadband bid

PUBLISHED: 09:38 04 April 2012 | UPDATED: 09:48 04 April 2012

Mark Bee, Leader of the Suffolk County Council, works with the new broadband at the council headquarters in Ipswich.

Mark Bee, Leader of the Suffolk County Council, works with the new broadband at the council headquarters in Ipswich.

Archant

HOUSEHOLDERS in Suffolk have been given more time to back a crusade to bring better broadband to the county.

Suffolk County Council says 11,300 people have signed up to its campaign for faster internet speeds, exceeding its 10,000 target.

But after a surge in interest over recent weeks civic chiefs have decided to extend the campaign deadline until April 14 so as not to “cut it off in its prime”.

Suffolk was given more than £10million by the Government in September to help improve broadband infrastructure.

The county council will match this sum before going out to tender in May for a private sector partner, who will be expected to invest around £20m. The authority is keen to galvanise public support behind faster internet speeds so as to boost the confidence of any business with plans to invest.

Council leader Mark Bee, also chairman of the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign, said: “First and foremost I’d like to thank the thousands of businesses and residents who’ve already backed our campaign.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response and are confident we’re in a good position to prove Suffolk’s demand, and need, for faster broadband.

“In the last two weeks, we’ve seen something of a step change in the intensity of campaigning and sign-ups so have decided to extend the deadline by two weeks. It would be madness to cut the campaign off in its prime.

“To everyone who hasn’t yet taken the opportunity to sign up I say ‘now’s your chance’. It only takes five minutes to complete the survey and every business and household that does takes us one step closer to a superfast broadband revolution for Suffolk.”

Civic chiefs think Suffolk’s economy could get a £2billion boost if superfast broadband is rolled out across the county.

They also believe it could create up to 5,000 jobs and help the retention and growth of around 500 small businesses.

Broadband speeds in parts of Suffolk can be as low as 0.5 megabits per second, leaving businesses and families frustrated.

To support the campaign visit www.suffolk.gov.uk/broadband

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