About Suffolk Online
Suffolk Online, since 2000 has been an Ipswich based nationwide delivering Internet Service Provider (ISP), offering a range of services like those offered by other major suppliers in the market place.
At the heart of Suffolk Online is it’s not for profit basis. All profits from the Suffolk Online ISP are ploughed back into the service itself or community projects run by Suffolk ACRE, the organisation that manages Suffolk Online. Suffolk Online can also add to this by being supplied it’s services by The Phone Coop. The Phone Coop are part of the co-operative movement and offer all it’s services carbon neutral. These ethical and environmental values are a core part of Suffolk Online’s reason for existence.
Suffolk Online’s Unique Selling Point (USP) however is that along with competitively priced packages it can offer unrivalled customer service and support via its dedicated helpdesk which is manned by 3 knowledgeable professionals each with vast experience of supporting consumers.
This service and support is at the cost of a local telephone call and is a personal service that has no boundaries. Unlike most ISP’s we don’t just stop at supporting your internet service we also will aid you with any problems you have on your computer, potentially saving you vast amounts of money having to call in engineers.
Suffolk Online is also able to back up its excellent support with a long term sustainable business model, that we hope can be demonstrated by it’s 9 year history in a very competitive market place where small ISP’s struggle to survive. Suffolk Online’s model is based on ultimately being able to fund itself in the short, medium and long term. It does not profess to be the cheapest provider in the market place but we would hope that it’s long term stability, excellent support and ethical values will more than make up for any small price differences.
With a self sustainable model in place and supplied by the co-operative movement Suffolk Online can demonstrate it’s ethical and environment status which makes it Suffolk’s premier Internet Service Provider.
Suffolk Online was born out of the government funded wired up communities project back in 2000 which Suffolk Online was part of. Along with 6 other pilot projects, Suffolk Online’s mission was to bridge the digital divide in its allotted county area. Suffolk Online was focussing on 26 parishes near the town of Framlingham in Suffolk. The project was supported and funded by DFES (Department for Education & Skills), EEDA & Suffolk County Council.
To achieve this goal Suffolk Online provided approximately 1500 personal computers with Internet connections in the project area to households that met the selection criteria. Priority was given to the socially excluded.
A locally based helpdesk was also provided with the computers and Internet connections to help those users familiarise themselves with the new systems and to also help resolve any problems that came about. The helpdesk was available at the cost of a local telephone call and is highly regarded still amongst it's customers for the quality of support provided. The help didn't stop here though - local volunteer champions were available to Suffolk Online ISP customers who needed an on-site prescence. This support was free and was thanks to those kind volunteers that volunteered at the time.
The focal point for SuffolkOnline.net was the web portal designed specifically with the local community in mind. This portal provided local and national information, community forums and access to the world wide web and all of these factors interconnected communities across Suffolk that simply wouldn't have connected before.
Along with the Internet connections, helpdesk, web portal - Free training was also provided to Suffolk Online customers. These were often basic computer or Internet courses that gave those new users of computers the chance to gain enough skills to be able to find their way round both their new computer and the Internet.
In 2004, Suffolk Online also started it's own wireless broadband services in 6 villages around Badingham, Suffolk. This was to provide broadband speed Internet access to those exchanges who were not enabled for conventional broadband. Whilst this only operated for around 12 months, it did give broadband speed Internet access to around 250 users in 6 villages who otherwise wouldn't have had this high speed access to the Internet.
Since 2006, and built upon the incredible strengths of it’s dedicated helpdesk staff, Suffolk Online has also been able to offer full IT support packages designed for the voluntary sector. With clients spanning the whole county from Lowestoft to Ipswich to Sudbury of varying sizes, Suffolk Online is now demonstrating it’s ethical and environmentally focussed approach on IT maintenance contracts for voluntary organisations. Like Suffolk Online, the service is operated on a not for profit basis and all profits made by this service are ploughed back into community projects that Suffolk ACRE, the organisation that manages Suffolk Online, operates.
These support contracts that Suffolk Online offers includes telephone and remote support, procurement advice and discounts, access to low cost on-site support and annual health checks. All hardware is bought at cost and with the discounts that are available for the voluntary sector.
Along-side these support contracts, Suffolk Online has also been able to develop onto it’s internal development resource and to offer website and database design services to the voluntary sector. Suffolk Online has many examples including this website of the scale of solutions that it can offer the voluntary sector.
In 2010, Suffolk Online and it's parent organisation Suffolk ACRE became apart of the Suffolk Broadband Partnership, with the explicit aim of pushing for next generation broadband services throughout the whole of Suffolk and to specifically address the issues over poor to no access in some areas. Please visit www.suffolkbroadband.net for further information.