Suffolk broadband campaign takes leap forward

Suffolk's better broadband campaign reached a major milestone today as Suffolk County Council invited companies to bid for the contract worth more than �40 million.

British Telecom and Fujitsu now have until September 7 to make their case for winning the contract to create for Suffolk a broadband network fit for the twenty first century.

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

By 2015, more 90pc of premises in the county will be able to access superfast broadband. The remaining 10pc 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 8 October 2012.

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

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

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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 Mr 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 broadband supplier.

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