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Why better broadband for business?

Suffolk is home to a number of major businesses, including Britain’s largest container terminal at the Port of Felixstowe, which supports a large number of haulage and distribution firms across the UK, BT’s research centre (Adastral Park) at Martlesham Heath, the OrbisEnergy centre in Lowestoft, the EDF Energy nuclear power station at Sizewell, AXA Insurance in Ipswich, a number of food processing companies across the county and breweries in Southwold (Adnams) and Bury St Edmunds (Greene King), 83% of all UK biotech firms, military bases at Mildenhall and near Woodbridge, the home of the horse racing industry in Newmarket, and much more besides. Suffolk has a thriving tourism industry worth £1.75bn (8% of Suffolk’s economy), employing ~34,000 people in ~2,000 businesses, with ~25 million tourist trips to Suffolk per year.

Suffolk had 25,290 VAT-registered businesses at the end of 2008, including a very wide range of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) driving economic output and employment (SMEs account for over half (51%) of UK GDP). However, there were just 14,952 business premises, which suggests that many small businesses are operated from home. Over the past 5 years, business stock in Suffolk has increased by an average of 400 businesses per year. Business survival rates seem stable at around 81% surviving longer than 2 years, and 49% longer than 5 years. Better Broadband will help these businesses grow and develop, giving Suffolk a competitive edge.

Suffolk County Council has also placed broadband at the heart of its economic growth strategy, which was launched in Spring 2013. It is envisaged that the benefits might include:

  • Web Browsing
  • Data / System Backup
  • Virtual Private Networks
  • E-Commerce Marketing
  • VoIP
  • Video Conferencing
  • Uploading and/or downloading documents, pictures or files
  • Flexible Working
  • Email
  • Global real-time design (CAD use etc)