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Thousands more people across Norfolk to benefit from superfast broadband thanks to £17.9m deal

PUBLISHED: 10:05 27 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:05 27 January 2015

Picture: James Bass

Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2013

Thousands of people in rural Norfolk will benefit from faster broadband thanks to a new multi-million pound deal.

Karen O'Kane, programme director for the Better Broadband for Norfolk project Karen O'Kane, programme director for the Better Broadband for Norfolk project

It comes after the EDP’s Say Yes to Better Broadband campaign helped spark a £41m deal in 2012 to improve internet speeds for more than 174,000 homes and businesses.

The latest £17.9m contract, which is aimed to help a further 25,000 homes and businesses, should see a total of 90pc of properties in Norfolk having access to faster internet speeds by the end of 2017.

Karen O’Kane, programme director for Better Broadband for Norfolk, said by spring, families and businesses would be able to check whether they would benefit from the new contract.

She added: “We have come a long way and this money will help us go further.

How it works

Internet which is connected through fibre optic cables is classed as superfast, and is above 24mb per second.

Under the government plans, any property with 2mbps or less will be equipped with alternative technology such as satellite.

The primary method for connecting properties to faster internet, is called Fibre to the Cabinet. It uses a mixture of fibre optic and copper cabling. Copper connects a home or business premises to a street cabinet, which is usually a green box.

This box is connected to a new cabinet, which connects to a fibre spine, leading to a major exchange.

Telecommunication services travel at faster speeds over fibre cable and do not slow down over distance, unlike with copper.

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.

For more information about the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme, visit www.betterbroadbandnorfolk.co.uk.

“I am delighted but I won’t be satisfied until I have helped every single property in Norfolk.”

The deal sees £6m of central Government funding matched by £5m from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, a business-led organisation which aims to create jobs and remove barriers to growth in Norfolk and Suffolk.

BT will contribute £5.9m, allowing households and businesses with slow speeds to buy faster fibre broadband.

The cash boost is aimed to bring rural broadband speeds in line with urban areas which currently have faster internet, such as Great Yarmouth and Norwich.

George Nobbs, Norfolk County Council leader, said: “The broadband inequality that has previously existed in Norfolk is being whittled away and with this extension, will be nearly eradicated.

“The whole county stands to benefit from the knock-on effect, with at-home learning and working and rural entrepreneurship among the opportunities that will be unlocked.”

Anthony Marett, managing director of Marett’s Chariots, a coach hire business based in Aylmerton near Cromer, said faster broadband would make a huge difference to his business.

He added: “It is brilliant news, mainly in terms of efficiency. The amount of time that members of staff spend waiting for pages to load is terrible.”

Suffolk announced a similar scheme in October, promising to reach 95pc of premises and households, while Cambridgeshire is expected to announce further plans in March.

Are you campaigning for an issue in your area? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk

Comment, page 34.

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