£1 million plan revealed to improve West Norfolk’s broadband connection

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Up to £1 million could be spent on improving broadband connections in West Norfolk if plans are approved by council chiefs next month.

West Norfolk Council is looking at investing £500,000 in the technology, which would be matched by cash from the ongoing Better Broadband for Norfolk (BbfN) programme.

The plan is set to be considered by the authority’s ruling cabinet next month, although a final decision on whether to spend the money will not be made until after contracts for the next stage of the BbfN project are finalised in the new year.

But officials say a decision on whether to commit cash to the project needs to be made now, so that the match funding can be secured.

A report to the cabinet, which will examine the issue during a meeting on September 10, said the money would help the authority achieve its target of 95 per cent superfast broadband provision in the borough.

Currently, although 78 per cent of addresses have a broadband connection, just four per cent have access to a superfast connection of 24 megabytes per second or more.

And officers say the plan will both promote economic growth and make access to services easier.

The report also warns: “There are no options to achieve the same aim.”

The borough is the latest of Norfolk’s district councils to look at improving its online connectivity.

In July, Breckland Council approved plans to spend more then £900,000 on the technology, while North Norfolk District Council is looking at spending £1 million.

The money for the West Norfolk plan will be drawn from the council’s corporate projects budget, plus a contribution from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for improvement works to the hospital roundabout.