Extra £5.3 million for Norfolk broadband revealed

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Thousands of homes and businesses in Norfolk have benefited from the latest round of broadband upgrades and ministers say there is more to come.

The government has now announced plans to spend an extra £5.3 million on the project to roll out superfast connections across the county.

Details of exactly where the money will be spent have yet to be finalised.

But South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said the announcement, combined with money set aside by county and district councils, would mean a further £12 million was being spent on the scheme.

She said: “This is great news for Norfolk and demonstrates the commitment to see access to superfast broadband across the county.

“Access to efficient and reliable broadband is as fundamental as having good roads and rail. For households and businesses, it is not a luxury but a key component of everyday life.”

Figures from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) estimate that around 35,000 properties across Ms Truss’ constituency now have access to superfast broadband connections, around 70 per cent of the total.

In the latest works, covering the three months to the end of June, more than 2,000 addresses were either fully or partially connected to the network.

Areas covered by the work include Thetford, Swaffham, Upwell, Marshland St James, Terrington St John, Tilney St Lawrence and Narborough.

The latest money is being drawn from government contracts with BT, which enable additional investment to be made when take-up of new technology exceeds target levels.

Ms Truss said the extra cash would be particularly welcome in order to extend connections to more remote rural communities.

She said: “BT are currently exploring the options for smaller cabinets in the more remote locations and I expect further details to be made available in the new year.

“As a member of the government’s digital task force I will continue to ensure that this is a priority.”

The current broadband programme, which is targeting 95 per cent coverage, runs until 2017.