13
November
2014
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00:00
Europe/Amsterdam

High-speed internet now available to 100,000 Norfolk homes and businesses thanks to Better Broadband for Norfolk programme

Norfolk’s superfast broadband revolution is surging ahead of many other parts of the country as the County Council and BT today announced that 100,000 homes and businesses can now access high-speed internet services as a result of their Better Broadband for Norfolk programme.

The announcement comes on the same day the UK government revealed that a total of 1.5 million premises across the UK can receive a superfast service.

Of all the broadband projects awarded under the Broadband Delivery UK contract framework in England, the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme has achieved the most progress, making high-speed broadband speeds available to more homes and businesses than in any other area to date.

The milestone of 100,000 premises has been achieved less than two years after Norfolk County Council and BT signed a landmark deal in December 2012 to bring about improved broadband access in the county. Since July 2013, more than 350 fibre broadband cabinets have been installed in locations across Norfolk, with most of them providing high-speed broadband to rural parts of the county.

Two of the most recent roadside fibre cabinets to be installed are in the village of Methwold in south-west Norfolk. More than 600 homes and businesses in the village now have access to the new fibre network and further premises in the Methwold exchange area will be connected over the next few months.

Dr Marie Strong, Chair of the Broadband Working Group and member on the Better Broadband for Norfolk Steering Group, said: “I’m so very pleased that we have reached the magic number of 100,000 homes and businesses able to access high speed fibre broadband. The Better Broadband for Norfolk programme is at the forefront of all the broadband projects across the country, which puts our county in an excellent position for the future of Norfolk’s children, families and businesses.”
Caroline Goldsworthy, BT Programme Manager, , said: “The Better Broadband for Norfolk programme has made fantastic progress, bringing high-speed fibre broadband to 100,000 premises in some of the most challenging areas in the county. The programme shows the power of the public and private sectors working together.
“BT has brought technical expertise to the table as well as millions of pounds of investment. This exciting technology is providing a major boost for local households and businesses in Norfolk, whether they are using it to work more efficiently and find new customers or for online learning and leisure.”
Martin Storey, Norfolk County Councillor for the division that includes Methwold, said: “I know how grateful people in Methwold will be to get access to superfast broadband. Householders and business owners have been telling me for some time how much they need a better broadband service and I’ve no doubt the village will quickly feel the benefit of a faster connection. I look forward to the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme continuing its progress across more rural parts of Norfolk.”

The Better Broadband for Norfolk programme was launched to help large parts of Norfolk that currently have slow or no broadband access. In 2011 the council pledged £15 million to the scheme, and this was matched by central Government as it became one of the first local authorities in the UK to be successful in bidding for Broadband Delivery UK funding under the framework contract.

In addition to covering the ongoing costs of supporting and maintaining the network, BT is making an £11 million contribution towards the cost of installing the fibre infrastructure, bringing the total capital investment in the project to £41 million.

There are now firm plans to bring superfast broadband to even more parts of Norfolk after central Government offered the county in excess of £9 million earlier this year in order to help reach its target of making high-speed broadband available to 95 per cent of UK homes and businesses by the end of 2017. This Government offer required local match funding, and this has now been achieved through funding pledges by Norfolk County Council, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Broadland District Council, North Norfolk District Council, Breckland Council, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk and South Norfolk Council.

The high-speed network installed by BT’s local network business, Openreach, as a result of the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme is available on an open, wholesale basis to all communication providers, therefore offering Norfolk households and businesses the benefit of real choice from a highly competitive market.

Each roadside fibre broadband cabinet serves homes and businesses in a very localised area such as part of a village or town. As faster services become available, people will be able to check whether their home or business can receive them via the Better Broadband for Norfolk website.

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Notes for editors
The Better Broadband for Norfolk programme was launched to help large parts of Norfolk that currently have slow or no broadband access. In 2011 the council pledged £15 million to the scheme, and this was matched by central Government as it became one of the first local authorities in the UK to be successful in bidding for Broadband Delivery UK funding under the framework contract.

In addition to covering the ongoing costs of supporting and maintaining the network, BT is making an £11 million contribution towards the cost of installing the fibre infrastructure, bringing the total capital investment in the project to £41 million.

When combined with the private sector’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband the deal between BT and the County Council will make broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps* available to more than 80 per cent of Norfolk’s homes and businesses by the end of 2015. The programme also aims to provide all homes and businesses with a minimum broadband speed of 2Mbps within the same timescale.