A small Mundford IT business is one of the latest Norfolk businesses to reap the benefits of superfast broadband across the county.
This week the Better Broadband for Norfolk (BBfN) programme announces that it has now made faster, fibre broadband available to more than 170,000 homes and businesses across the county.
The announcement came on the same day as the Government said more than three million UK homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband as part of its national roll-out.
BBfN is a significant contributor to this milestone, making high-speed broadband available to more homes and businesses than any other single county Broadband Delivery UK project in England.
Husband and wife team Andy and Val Hibbs run IT business Craft ICT from their home office in Mundford. They were one of the first to sign up to the new service when superfast broadband arrived in the village recently.
Mr Hibbs said: “Our broadband speeds rocketed from 4Mbps to 60Mbps in the space of minutes. We knew it was exactly what we needed to make our business run more efficiently.”
Craft ICT had struggled to carry out simple daily tasks due to its connection.
He said: “Broadband is essential to our business, our whole business model relies on it. But whenever we wanted to complete software upgrades or download customer files we’d have to set it to download or upload overnight because it would take so long.
“Now the company is implementing previously unavailable systems and reaping the benefits of cost and efficiency savings.
“What used to take hours can now be done in the blink of an eye.
“The need for local servers and numerous back-up discs has gone, we no longer have to own internal servers. Not only can we benefit from the hardware and electricity cost savings this brings, the ‘what-if’ worry has gone too.
“Video conferencing is now seamless and has reduced our travel costs and therefore enabled us to offer a more cost-effective service to our customers.
“We can now rethink our business strategy and build it on a truly digital 21st-century platform,” said Mr Hibbs.
Mundford is one of the latest areas of Norfolk to benefit from BBfN, a partnership between Norfolk County Council and BT, which aims to ensure more than 80 per cent of premises in Norfolk can receive a superfast broadband service (24 megabits per second and above) by the end of this year.
Dave Hughes, BT’s regional director for the East of England, said: “Today marks important milestones, both locally and nationally, for the superfast broadband revolution. This exciting technology is transforming the opportunities for communities across Norfolk and the UK as a whole. BT’s multi billion pound investment in superfast broadband through its involvement in partnerships, such as Better Broadband for Norfolk and its own commercial programme has already made fibre broadband available to more than 330,000 households and businesses in Norfolk – and the number is continuing to grow rapidly. Our engineers are rolling out the technology at a world class pace, reaching thousands more premises every week.
“Successful broadband partnerships are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a key role in the future prosperity of communities for many years to come.”
Dr Marie Strong, Chair of the Broadband Working Group and member on the Better Broadband for Norfolk Steering Group, said: “Investing in the infrastructure Norfolk needs to enable businesses to thrive, families to contact essential services, and school children to flourish is one of the council’s top priorities. We have made excellent progress with the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme and every month more businesses and homes in Norfolk are able to access superfast broadband. Just one good news story is seeing a rural business like Craft ICT able to be more efficient, keep costs down and remove barriers to success and profitability.”
Ian Monson, county councillor for the Brecks division which includes Mundford, said: “Broadband is one of the issues I am contacted about the most by the residents I represent. It’s a vital part of modern life and therefore crucial that we get our rural communities connected to superfast broadband. It is heartening to hear of the progress that has been made to date and I know that even more funding is being provided to bring better broadband to a greater number of homes and businesses in Norfolk as quickly as possible, which is very welcome news.”
Elizabeth Truss MP, Environment minister, South West Norfolk MP and member of a new government digital task force, recently met with businesses including Craft ICT when she visited Mundford, which is in her South West Norfolk constituency, to see the impact of superfast broadband on the village. “I’ve met businesses in Mundford who are making fantastic use of improved broadband – supplying clients in Brazil, Myanmar and the US,” the Minster said. “It’s for this reason that the roll out of superfast broadband is so important to the rural economy.”
The better broadband connections are boosting the local economy, say those urging improvement.
Dr Marie Strong, chair of the Broadband Working Group and member on the Better Broadband for Norfolk Steering Group, said: “We have made excellent progress with the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme and every month more businesses and homes in Norfolk are able to access superfast broadband.”
Elizabeth Truss MP, Environment minister, South West Norfolk MP and member of a new government digital task force,
recently met with businesses including Craft ICT when she visited Mundford, to see the impact of superfast broadband on the village.
She said: “I’ve met businesses in Mundford who are making fantastic use of improved broadband – supplying clients in Brazil, Myanmar and the US.
“It’s for this reason that the roll-out of superfast broadband is so important to the rural economy.”