The first stages of an ambitious plan to roll out ‘ultrafast’ broadband to homes and businesses across Lowestoft have been agreed.
The Suffolk Cloud Project, coordinated by Suffolk County Council, is installing ultrafast broadband to public sector premises across 10 towns in Suffolk, including Lowestoft, Felixstowe and Woodbridge. However, as part of its ambitious growth and development programme for Lowestoft, East Suffolk Council is proposing an extension to this ultrafast network, providing world-leading connectivity to ALL commercial and residential premises in the town.
At their inaugural meeting held on Tuesday 4 June, the newly formed cabinet of East Suffolk Council agreed to explore extending the Suffolk Cloud project so that Lowestoft’s commercial and residential premises can also be connected to the ultrafast network. The extension, which will require a £1.9m investment from the Council, will boost economic growth in the town, and the surrounding area.
Cllr Stephen Burroughes, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for Customer Services and Operational Partnerships said:
“We want to create a digital revolution in East Suffolk as a priority and it is widely acknowledged that Lowestoft's geographical remoteness and lack of good transport connections has hampered its economic growth and regeneration in recent decades.
By supporting and enabling the installation of ultrafast broadband throughout the town we can create a step change in its digital capability and as a result it will become a far more attractive area for inward investment, existing businesses, tourists and residents.”
The Council will now provide a ‘letter of intent’ to CityFibre and MLL, the contractors delivering the Suffolk Cloud project, regarding proposed co-investment to further the extension of the full fibre network.
If the Suffolk Cloud project stays on schedule, installation of ‘full fibre’ in Lowestoft will begin in October and is expected to be completed within 2 years.
The Suffolk Cloud project sits outside the county-wide ‘Better Broadband for Suffolk’ programme, through which 94% of Suffolk locations now have access to superfast broadband with a coverage rate of 98% expected by 2020.