Fibre broadband is the second generation of broadband and is much faster, more reliable and uses a different technology than standard first-generation broadband.

Whilst traditional broadband is delivered via copper telephone lines, fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables. The speed and extent of the transformation enabled by better broadband has been remarkable, and much has been achieved over recent years, both nationally and in Suffolk.

Fibre broadband can be delivered in two ways from the exchange: fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP). FTTC uses fibre-optic cables throughout the network right up to the street cabinet. It then uses copper wires to connect the cabinet to homes and businesses.

FTTC provides wholesale download speeds up to 80Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps. FTTP means fibre-optic cables run right to the door of each house or business. It provides wholesale download speeds up to 330Mbps and upload speeds up to 30Mbps.

If your premise has access to fibre broadband, you will need to order a fibre broadband service from a broadband provider.

There are a number of providers to choose from; most of these also offer bundles where you get phone, broadband and TV all for a fixed monthly fee. There are various comparison sites available to help you choose the best provider for you.

Once you have signed up, your retail service provider will arrange for an installation of your connection, and probably provide you with a wireless router, so you can access your internet via an Ethernet cable, or via roaming wirelessly around your house.

No - to get fibre broadband, you'll need to place an order with an Internet Service Provider. (ISP) This is because fibre broadband uses a different technology (e.g. fibre optic) and an engineer will need to visit your premises to install the necessary equipment.

There are several ISPs offering fibre broadband packages, so you can shop around and choose the package that's best for you. If you decide not to upgrade to fibre broadband, you'll be able to continue using your existing broadband service as normal.

The Better Broadband for Suffolk scheme facilitates the availability of access to better broadband. It does not have any responsibility regarding the quality of service you receive from your broadband provider.

If you have concerns around the service quality, contact your provider in the first instance. If you consider your concerns are not being addressed by your service provider, there are agencies you can contact, such as:

The aim of the programme is to achieve the best long-term broadband coverage for the whole county.

Openreach are contracted to manage the roll-out of fibre broadband, and the current contract requires them to connect a set number of premises by 2020, which would bring Suffolk to a coverage rate of 98%.

Openreach plans the roll-out taking into account many factors including local demographics and geography, planning requirements, the existing engineering infrastructure and the availability of suitable technologies to provide a service.

It’s not possible with a programme of this size to reach all areas at the same time so some areas will be enabled before others. We fully understand people's frustration and the huge importance of fibre broadband and we will keep you regularly updated as our plans evolve. The project will tackle a range of areas at the same time, including geographically challenging and easier coverage areas across Suffolk.

Overall, we are focused on ensuring the roll-out is as efficient as possible, in order to meet our 98% coverage rate for the end of 2020, and the eventual coverage of all Suffolk premises as soon as this is achievable.

If you live in an area where there is no fibre broadband upgrade planned, or if an upgrade will take more than a year, there are interim solutions as well as community self-help options available. Funding is also available towards these solutions:

The Better Broadband for Suffolk Programme is directed by a contract management board composed of Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Broadband, supported by senior officers, and senior executives from BT Openreach.

The Programme is informed and supported by a Stakeholder Board, bringing together key stakeholders from:

  • Suffolk County Council
  • the Federation of Small Businesses
  • Suffolk Chamber of Commerce
  • Community Action Suffolk (CAS)
  • the Suffolk Association of Local Councils (SALC)
  • Country Land and Business Association (CLA)
  • Fram Farmers
  • Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)
  • Suffolk ACRE
  • and the district/borough councils within Suffolk

Yes. Below is a list of the previous Better Broadband for Suffolk newsletters:

Yes. There are a number of official publications, these described some of the legal and procurement processes we have been through in order to deliver the programme, and are listed below:

Suffolk Reinvestment State Aid Consultation, April 2016

Suffolk Additional Procurement State Aid Consultation, April/May 2014

Suffolk Better Broadband Original Procurement documents, 2011/12

Suffolk State Aid Consultation, March 2012

Suffolk Intervention Area, March 2012

Suffolk Local Broadband Plan, 2011

Better Broadband for Suffolk partners