Better Broadband for Suffolk – Could it Really be Happening?

A while ago we wrote about the latest update in the Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign. Well, now there’s more news.

A recent email from the campaign has announced that:

Suffolk County Council has today announced that it will work with BT to implement the county’s Better Broadband for Suffolk programme.

Every household and business premises in Suffolk will now be guaranteed broadband speeds of at least 2 megabits per second (Mbps) by 2015 with 85% being able to access superfast coverage.

It means that within just three years, 9 out of 10 Suffolk properties will be connected to fibre-based broadband and will be able to get speed increases of at least 10Mbps.

Obviously, this announcement has been welcomed with open arms. As Mark Bee, Leader of Suffolk County Council said “Improving access to broadband is going to help Suffolk’s economy grow by as much as 20% and create up to 5000 new jobs. There’s a digital divide between Suffolk and the rest of the country but an even more acute disparity between urban and rural Suffolk. The Better Broadband programme is going to close those gaps, boost school attainment and help the public sector to deliver services more efficiently and cheaply.”

So what’s next?

Well, a contract between Suffolk County Council and BT is expected to be finalised and finally awarded by the end of October 2012.

This is fantastic news for Suffolk and we’ll keep you posted on further developments as and when we hear about them.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Better Broadband for Suffolk–Update

A while a go, we wrote about the continuing campaign to get better broadband for Suffolk.

Well, here’s an update for you as reported by EADT24:

SUFFOLK’S MPs gave the proposals to bring in superfast broadband to rural parts of the county a ringing endorsement during a special briefing at Westminster yesterday.

County council leader Mark Bee joined Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Andy Wood and Chris Soule from the Federation of Small Businesses to meet MPs whose constituents are waiting for fast broadband to reach their communities.

All the MPs welcomed the fact that the council was near to choosing which of two providers – believed to be BT and Fujitsu – would carry on the work.

And they were looking forward to the day when work would start on breaking down the “digital divide” that has built up in Suffolk over recent years.

While households in Ipswich and part of Felixstowe can get speeds of up to 120 Mbps through Virgin fibre-optic cables, properties in some rural parts of the county struggle to get 1Mbps.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has constituents on both sides of the digital divide.

He said: “The news about how far we have come is excellent and it is right to note the work that has been put in by the county council, the LEP and the FSB.

“It is great that we are one of the first four areas of the country to take this major step forward.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said it was good news that rural areas would be among the first reached, but work would also continue to improve services to enterprise zones which was vital for boosting business.

Mr Bee said communities with some of the slowest broadband speeds in Suffolk would be among the first to have work completed.

The first properties to be linked up should be at the end of this year with the first programme completed by the spring of 2015.

Ultimately the aim was to bring superfast broadband to all properties in Suffolk by 2020.

Narrowing the digital divide

A recent article posted by ThisisMoney.co.uk highlights that it’s not just Suffolk that’s struggling with woeful broadband speeds.

They report that, according to figures from the Federation of Small Business, 63% of firms (from a survey of 3,000 small businesses) in rural areas are dissatisfied with the speed of their broadband connection. That’s in direct contrast to 48% in urban areas.

Despite the Government’s pledge to create 10 ‘super-connected’ cities by 2015, the FSB believes that they are not going far enough to help rural businesses. In fact, this will have the effect of widening the gap.

The FSB are calling for a rollout of 20 Mbps superfast broadband to 98% of rural communities and businesses to help ‘close the digital divide between urban and rural businesses.’

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Better Broadband for Suffolk

Following on from our earlier post, ‘Backing Broadband for Suffolk’, we thought you might like to find out how the campaign is going.

According to the I’m Backing Better Broadband for Suffolk campaign…

On the 14 September 2011, following an investment of up to £10 million from Suffolk County Council, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced that the Suffolk Local Broadband Plan would be one of five counties to be the first to kick off their government-backed programme to make superfast broadband available across their areas.

We are now working to a Framework Delivery Model set out by BDUK to deliver superfast broadband to Suffolk.

That means that in the next six months leading up to March 2012, we will be developing the project to establish local requirements – this includes where as a county we already have broadband coverage, where the gaps are and where are the areas that will have maximum impact.

With more and more people across Suffolk calling for super fast broadband, to ensure either in business or at home they can access a whole range of services, the I’m backing better broadband for Suffolk campaign needs as many people as possible to get behind them.

If you haven’t already, please make sure you go to our their website, which is here and sign up to the campaign – it will mean you will receive regular updates from the campaign and what they need you to do to help show the need there is in Suffolk.

Getting to Grips With Your WiFi

Wireless working is great…when it works.transmit

But there are times when you just want to throw your router out of the window. Your wireless signal can be affected by all manner of things:

  • The distance between your router and the receiving computers
  • The way your walls and ceilings are constructed
  • What you have in your room
  • Interference from other electronic items (yours and your neighbours)

Locating the specific problem can be a complete nightmare. But with a bit of time and patience, you can succeed without it costing the earth.

Before you go splashing out on expensive antennas, boosters and repeaters, take a look at your home and carefully consider the best location for your router.

Undertaking a network survey

1. Locations for your router

Make a note of all the possible locations for your router, bearing in mind it is usually recommended that you place your wireless router as high as possible in a central location.

Depending on your broadband service, the wiring in your house and the ability to run extra Ethernet cable, there could be several possible locations for your router. If you have DSL and your house already has phone jacks in every room, any of them could be used as potential locations. But if you use broadband through your cable company, your choices will be far more limited.

2. Identifying potential interference

Interference is one of the main causes of wireless network failures, whether it comes from devices in your home or a near neighbours’.

A prime culprit is the 2.4ghz cordless phone because they operate on the same frequency as most wireless networks. If you have one, it might be wise to replace it with the newer 5.8ghz model or older 900mhz type.

But it’s not just cordless phones, interference could also be caused by wireless alarm systems, microwaves, wireless video and audio systems, baby monitors etc.

3. Wireless laptop detective

A great way of evaluating your home before setting up your network is by borrowing a wireless laptop. This will be able to show you the signal strength of all nearby networks. You can also download and use tools such as NetStumber.

Plug your router into any electrical socket (without connecting it to your router or installing it) and it should start to transmit. Then, walk around the house, with  your laptop to check out the signal strength in different locations. You can repeat the process, moving the router to different areas to find the best location.

But what happens when you’ve tried all of that and still can’t get a good signal?

Well, that’s the subject of our next blog post, so stay tuned to learn more.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Backing Broadband for Suffolk

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The website ChooseSuffolk is calling on everyone in Suffolk to get behind their Backing Broadband for Suffolk campaign.

The Government is making big decisions on our behalf about which areas of the UK will benefit most quickly from superfast Broadband.

We need to make sure that Suffolk has its voice heard loud and clear.

The East Anglian Times led with a story today (2/2/11) saying that 10% of Suffolk is in a web desert. Thanks to broadband “not spots” there are almost 67,000 people without acceptable access to the internet.

Looking at the countries rankings for broadband coverage, Suffolk’s performance is pretty poor:

  • Mid Suffolk local authority is ranked the lowest at 373 of 407 in the UK with only 26% of households with a usable broadband connection
  • Suffolk Coastal is ranked 348 in the country with only 31%
  • Whereas Ipswich is ranked 45 with 79% of households with a useable connection

Suffolk must be at the top of the agenda when these critical decisions are being made. Therefore they are calling on everyone in Suffolk, from all walks of life, to give their support and back the Better Broadband For Suffolk campaign.

You can back their campaign now by going to the MPM website and register your free vote by clicking on the logo (your details will not be passed to any third parties but you will be kept updated on the campaign).

Your voice will help us secure the investment our county so badly needs.

Here’s how Suffolk will benefit from Better Broadband

Better broadband won’t just help Suffolk’s families. There are many other areas of life that will benefit from a better service:

  • Business – Suffolk business, including some of the UKs leading financial services, biotechnology, tourism and high value food and drink producers need better broadband if they are to continue to be at the forefront of the nation’s economy.
  • Healthcare – Better broadband would enable online monitoring of your health, online diagnosis of medical conditions via online consultation and online supervision of drug administration. As well as being more convenient for you, the delivery of better healthcare online would help to improve the services delivered by the NHS at greatly reduced costs.
  • Education – Access to faster, more reliable services will enable our young people to reach their potential. Research shows that giving a child access to the internet via broadband results in an increase in GCSE attainment.
  • Entertainment – With some 750,000 living in Suffolk, better broadband will help families enjoy the benefits of the growing range of rich video-based entertainment services streamed over the Internet into the home.
  • Society – The people of Suffolk want to be able to enjoy the society of the future that reliable broadband will bring. Whether it is now with social networking and linking in with business or looking at tomorrow with voting on line or being part of the big society.

Make your voice heard and help us bring reliable broadband to everyone in Suffolk.

Vote now.

How Broad is Your Broadband?

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We’ve all seen the adverts for super fast broadband and are well aware of the controversy of the ‘up to’ speeds that are advertised.

The speed (and reliability) of broadband is very varied depending on where you live in the country with many people unaware of what speed they are actually receiving.

How about your connection speed? Does the time of day have an effect on your broadband’s performance? Are there times when you simply can’t get online?

A fast and reliable broadband connection is vital for our daily lives be it for email, internet surfing or normal business communications. So can you be sure you’re getting the best speed?

If you live in Suffolk you’re in luck as it is possible to check your current broadband line to see if there is a better service you can use.

It’s not all about speed

As with most things you get what you pay for. Therefore the less you pay, in general, the slower the speed. Plus a leased line (i.e. dedicated line of just 2Mbps) can actually give you a better performance than a normal contended line (i.e. a shared line of say 6Mbps).

Of course nothing in life is that simple as leased lines are not cheap, but there are other options…

Types of broadband

“What! There’s more than one?” I head you cry.

Yes indeed. For every business there is a range of business broadband contracts available:

  • ADSL
  • ADSL 2+
  • SDSL
  • Bonded Broadband
  • Leased line etc…

Your local IT Support Company can help you review the options available to find your best fit. Not only that they’ll also make all the arrangements to transform  your internet experience.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t put up with your slow connection, check out your other options and get more from your broadband.