Broadband and Digital

Enabling future communications for all

Broadband

Broadband and 5G gives access to digital services at home and is an enabler for business growth and start-ups that rely on digital connectivity. Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are focussed on enabling access across the regions so people and businesses can benefit. Access has been growing in both Babergh and Mid Suffolk and significantly, 97% of the homes and businesses in the region are now able to get a superfast connection. This shift was achieved through the Better Broadband for Suffolk initiative run by Suffolk County Council.

The government has created Project Gigabit, a £5 billion programme which will fund the roll out to some of the hardest to reach parts of the country. Alongside Project Gigabit, digital suppliers are also extending coverage as part of the commercial roll out. The government has set an overall target of an overall minimum of 85% of UK premises being able to access a gigabit-capable network by 2025.

Full-fibre builder CityFibre was awarded £318m of UK government funding for the rollout and will add its own £170m private investment. In Suffolk, an injection of £100 million of government funding will make around 80,000 gigabit-capable broadband connections possible for people living in hamlets, villages and towns such as Icklingham, Mellis and Ringshall.

Local people will further benefit from CityFibre’s commitment to donate to charities operating in the county, working to connect people, tackle loneliness and reduce health inequalities through innovative digital solutions. The supplier will also provide a minimum of 30 free full-fibre gigabit-capable connections and six months of free internet access to community centres.

The government voucher scheme is also providing up to £210m worth of voucher funding as immediate help for people experiencing slow broadband speeds in rural areas. (Note: This scheme is not currently available in Suffolk). You may be eligible when the scheme starts if you meet the following criteria:

  • Existing broadband speeds are less than 100Mbps
  • A gigabit capable network isn’t likely to be built to that area commercially in the near future
  • There is no government-funded contract planned or in place to improve the network already

Check the site for further information about the vouchers, worth up to £4,500, which are to help cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband.

The Better Broadband for Suffolk site also shows ways communities can self-help to get better internet access through community schemes such as self dig. 

5G

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of cellular network technology. It is the successor to 4G LTE, which is the current standard for mobile internet. 5G offers a number of improvements over 4G, including:

  • Faster speeds: 5G can deliver theoretical peak speeds of up to 20 gigabits per second (Gbps), which is 100 times faster than 4G. This means that users can download large files, stream high-definition video, and play online games with virtually no lag.
  • Lower latency: Latency is the time it takes for a signal to travel from one point to another. 5G has a latency of just a few milliseconds, which is much lower than 4G. This means that users can experience a more responsive and lag-free experience when using applications that require real-time communication, such as video conferencing and online gaming.
  • More capacity: 5G networks can support more devices than 4G networks. This is because 5G uses a wider range of radio frequencies, which allows for more data to be transmitted simultaneously. This is important for businesses and organizations that need to connect a large number of devices, such as factories, stadiums, and airports.

5G is already being rolled out in the UK by all four major mobile networks: EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone. As of July 2023, 5G coverage is available in over 750 towns and cities across the UK, and it is expected to reach 50% of the population by the end of 2023.

Benefits of 5G

5G has the potential to benefit people and businesses in a number of ways, including:

  • Faster downloads and streaming: 5G’s faster speeds will allow users to download large files, stream high-definition video, and play online games with virtually no lag. This will be a boon for businesses that need to transfer large amounts of data, such as video streaming companies and online gaming providers.
  • Improved remote working: 5G’s lower latency will make remote working more efficient and productive. Employees will be able to collaborate in real time with colleagues who are located in different parts of the world, without experiencing any lag.
  • New and innovative applications: 5G’s high speeds and low latency will enable new and innovative applications, such as:
    • Virtual reality and augmented reality: 5G will be able to support the high bandwidth requirements of virtual reality and augmented reality applications, making them more immersive and realistic.
    • Self-driving cars: 5G’s low latency will be essential for self-driving cars, which need to be able to communicate with each other and with traffic infrastructure in real time.
    • Industrial automation: 5G will be able to connect a wide range of industrial devices, enabling the automation of factories and other industrial processes.

Overall, 5G is a major technological advancement that has the potential to revolutionise the way we live and work. As 5G networks continue to roll out and 5G-enabled devices become more widespread, we can expect to see even more innovative applications and services emerge in the years to come. More information can be found from Mobile UK.