King Of Wishful Thinking Go West
8 June 2011, 05:00
After Norfolk was given millions of pounds of government funding for better broadband - Suffolk's now coming up with a plan to make sure they get it next time
Norfolk County Council got £15 million when the first round of money was given out last month - but Suffolk were told they'd have to wait until more was awarded in the future - despite receiving positive feedback on the county's bid which brought together the county council, district and borough councils and business leaders.
Now the Leader of Suffolk County Council has called an urgent meeting of the county's leading councillors, MPs and business figures to forge ahead with a plan to drastically improve broadband access in Suffolk.
Councillor Mark Bee made improving the county’s broadband network a key priority for his leadership and will be chairing talks on Friday 10th of June aimed at ensuring Suffolk gets the investment it needs from central government.
At the meeting, the county council's cabinet will discuss Suffolk's current bid, the feedback it had from Broadband Delivery UK and an action plan to secure the necessary funding as soon as possible.
Mark Bee said: "We are hugely disappointed the Government has not yet recognised Suffolk’s need for better broadband and the serious financial and time commitment Suffolk’s broadband partnership has shown to improving access for residents and businesses.
We’ve had very positive feedback on our bid so our next step is to work with Broadband Delivery UK to refine our approach and make sure we secure the funding we need as soon as possible.
We’re absolutely committed to delivering better broadband for Suffolk and are looking at everything we can do to make it happen.
Andy Wood, Chair of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Chief Executive of Adnams, said: "I am delighted Mark has called this meeting. Whilst we are all disappointed that the announcement at the end of May did not go Suffolk's way, this never was a win-lose situation. The acknowledged technical quality of our bid provides us with a strong platform to quickly and confidently reengage with BDUK."
Suffolk currently has one of the poorest broadband networks in England. The average broadband speed currently experienced by Suffolk’s consumers and small businesses is under 5Mbps.