Suffolk commits £10m to super-fast broadband project
Suffolk County Council (SCC) has pledged to invest as much as £10 million to bring the area's broadband infrastructure into the 21st century.
Business leaders, community figures and MPs joined councillors at a cabinet meeting on Friday (June 10th 2011), in which the four-year funding package for next-generation internet access was agreed.
The local authority is hopeful that its substantial financial commitment will boost its chances of securing funding from the government for its super-fast broadband project, which will cost £41.7 million.
As well as giving consumers a fast web connection, councillors believe the work would fuel business growth, remove a stumbling block in the way of transforming the county's public services and improve educational attainment.
David Ruffley, one of the MPs to attend the summit, promised that all of Suffolk's MPs will support the proposals by speaking out during talks with ministers.
Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the delivery vehicle for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition's broadband strategy, has a total of £530 million to award over the current parliament to improve existing levels of internet service across the country.
Council chiefs in Suffolk have already tabled a bid to secure a chunk of this public cash, but were overlooked in the latest funding announcement, made at the end of last month.
Instead, BDUK chose to award a combined £50 million to Norfolk, Wiltshire and a joint application from Devon and Somerset.
Leader of SCC Mark Bee said the meeting sent a "very clear message" about the local authority's commitment to improve broadband services in Suffolk.
Andy Wood, chair of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, added: "I feel this sends the strongest message possible to government that all of the partners in Suffolk are absolutely serious about this project.
"Delivering it will be one of the most important things to happen in Suffolk for many years."