Waveney MP to bring Broadband under the spotlight

A CONFERENCE aimed at opening up the debate on Broadband services in Suffolk will take place in Waveney on April 6.

Communications Minister Ed Vaisey, who is responsible for delivering the Government vision for superfast broadband will give the keynote speech at the event, which is likely to take place in Beccles or Bungay.

The conference will be led by Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who since being elected in May last year has pinpointed broadband connectivity as central to the economic regeneration of Waveney, highlighting that local businesses have significant hurdles to overcome as a result of the area's remoteness and poor transport infrastructure.

Mr Aldous is convinced that good quality, reliable broadband access is key to overcoming these difficulties.

But his recent research has revealed that under the current plans of large providers many parts of Waveney will remain broadband 'not-spots' for years to come.

With the bidding process for the second round of funding provided by Broadband UK to be announced this month and open in April, the conference will offer the major providers an opportunity to outline what services they will be providing to which areas in Suffolk and when.

Central to an inclusive broadband strategy in areas where there is a lack of commercial incentive is the sharing of existing alternative infrastructure and the conference will stimulate debate as to how the schools network and other existing infrastructure can be opened up to reach less viable areas.

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Mr Aldous said: 'Broadband is absolutely central to the economic growth of our region enabling businesses to operate from remote locations and ensuring local people can access services from home.'

The conference will bring together people from across the local community to discuss issues specific to Waveney and Suffolk in achieving high, reliable broadband connectivity.

Mr Aldous will be inviting partners from Choose Suffolk's broadband campaign as well as other organisations preparing bids for Government or European funding to present their proposals at the conference.

He will also be inviting all the providers of broadband services providers across Suffolk to take part in the conference to ensure that there is an open debate on how best to reach all areas of the constituency.

Mr Aldous added: 'I have decided to organise this high-profile event to give those drafting proposals for funding as well as the various suppliers of different technologies and solutions an opportunity to make their case and stimulate debate. The aim is to help ensure that all areas of Waveney, not just those most commercially viable are reached.

'Ahead of this event I would be particularly interested to hear from any local businesses who are able to provide examples of how they have grown as a result of using the internet and who might be interested in sharing their success.'

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