Norfolk broadband package is worth £11m

Superfast broadband
Superfast broadband

Council chiefs have committed a further £3 million towards extending the provision of super-fast broadband connections around Norfolk.

The money is part of a new £11 million funding package announced this week, which will take the total spent on the Better Broadband for Norfolk project to £68 million since it was launched in 2012.

Officials say the new work will mean 95 per cent of the county’s homes and businesses will have access to super-fast connections, of at least 24 megabits per second, by 2020.

Five district councils, including West Norfolk, North Norfolk and Breckland, have contributed to the latest investment, which is being matchfunded by the government.

A further £5 million is being drawn from a rebate awarded for higher than expected take-up of the improved service to date.

Norfolk County Council leader Cliff Jordan said: “In just a few years we’ve made a huge difference to tens of thousands of people living and working in the county, but we won’t be satisfied until everyone in Norfolk can access a good broadband service.

“We will continue to push for more investment and make the money we already have go as far as possible.”

Nick Daubney, West Norfolk Council cabinet member for systems and economic development, said: “Having access to high speed broadband is essential for local businesses who are trying to compete in national and international markets.

“It also makes West Norfolk a more attractive place for people and businesses to relocate to as the communications infrastructure will be on a par with other parts of the country.”

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said his authority was spending an extra £1 million on improved connections.

He said: “Fast broadband is essential to our economy and that’s why we are investing heavily in this project. It’s an issue which is causing a lot of concern to residents and businesses and access to fast online services is a necessity – not an add-on.”

Phil Cowen, executive member for growth and commercialisation at Breckland Council, said the project had increased connections in his district to more than 80 per cent from 30 per cent four years ago.

He said: “This is a fantastic achievement, but we are not complacent.

“To build on this success, we’ve committed £950k to rolling out superfast internet access to even more areas of Breckland.”