Ultra-fast broadband plans announced for nine Norfolk towns
PUBLISHED: 06:00 27 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:01 27 January 2020
Ultra-fast broadband is coming to nine Norfolk towns following a trial by BT Openreach.
The broadband provider announced today that Attleborough, Besthorpe, Great Ellingham, Dereham, Toftwood, Downham Market, Watton and Wymondham will be getting the full fibre technology.
Bungay in Suffolk will also be getting the upgrade, as part of Openreach's plans to extend its coverage outside cities.
And where improvements to broadband access has been welcomed, business and policy leaders have said they waited too long for the coverage.
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"It is ten years since we first launched the Norfolk Fast Broadband Rollout," said George Freeman, the MP for mid Norfolk. "But the BT Openreach rollout cannot come fast enough for those parts of Norfolk still waiting. Digital connectivity is not a luxury - it's now a basic fundamental utility for day to day life."
He added: "This latest news from BT Openreach is great news for households and businesses in those towns, and we are determined to ensure all rural communities are properly connected."
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According to a Which? survey published in 2019, the median broadband speeds for rural districts in Norfolk were among the worst in the country.
The best download speed was recorded in West Norfolk at 13.6, the worst in Breckland at 11.1.
The national median download speed is 22.3.
Nova Fairbank, head of policy for Norfolk Chambers of Commerce said: "Our business community has long reported that our digital infrastructure is still not wholly fit for purpose.
"Reliable internet connectivity is a basic requirement for any business to operate efficiently and competitively in today's world.
"Today's announcement will help a greater number of businesses to compete nationally and internationally; to develop their businesses and create more economic growth and jobs for Norfolk."
Laura Whelan, Ppenreach's partnership director in the East of England, said: "Today's announcement is about taking that next step and building a full fibre network that is not only faster, but also more reliable and future-proof for generations to come."
Openreach's chief executive, Clive Selley, said: "Openreach has always been committed to doing our bit in rural Britain - delivering network upgrades in communities that are harder to reach and less densely populated. Our full fibre build program is going great guns."
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