Jeremy Hunt promises better broadband for Suffolk

Jeremy Hunt
Image caption Jeremy Hunt visited a farm and a hotel in Suffolk to hear about broadband connectivity

The government's culture secretary has been in Suffolk pledging to ensure the county gets better broadband connections.

Jeremy Hunt MP acknowledged the lack of high-speed links to the internet in rural areas and said a new fibre optics network would help.

Business organisations in Suffolk have been campaigning for improvements.

Mr Hunt said: "It's a very real economic issue and we have got to sort it out."

The Country, Land and Business Association's (CLA) regional director Nicola Currie claims two thirds of the county suffers from "unworkable broadband speeds".

She said: "I know of a prestige car business near Bury St Edmunds which is unable to e-mail photographs satisfactorily which holds back their marketing.

"Farms have over 20 goverment forms that they are either required or encouraged to complete online which cannot be done with a poor connection."

£830m stategy

The government has an £830m strategy to improve broadband which includes putting a digital hub in every community over the next five years.

Mr Hunt said: "That's not going to deal with the whole problem, because people will then have to work out how they're going to connect their home or business to that fibre point.

"But at least if we put a point in your community linked to the national fibre network we'll be able to give you a way to solve that problem."

Dan Poulter, Conservative MP for Central Suffolk, said: "We need to make sure we get as strong a bid together as we can for the April round of bidding for money from government.

"The stumbling block in the past has been that our local authorities haven't been 100% signed up and [now] we've got a very strong team working on it."

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