28,000 Norwich properties to benefit from super-fast broadband upgrade

Super-fast broadband is coming to 28,000 properties in Norwich, BT has announced.

It is the latest area to benefit from a �2.5 billion programme to bring high-speed, fibre optic technology to millions of properties across the UK.

BT is set to upgrade the Norwich exchange with work expected to be completed in 2012.

It will mean homes and businesses will have access to speeds of up to 40Mpbs from next year – twice the current speed available – with the possibility of a further upgrade to 100Mpbs in the future.

The announcement comes just three weeks after the government awarded a �15m grant to Norfolk to help the county council bring every person in the county struggling with super-slow internet connections up to speed.

It followed the EDP's Broadband: Back the Bid campaign which was supported by 200 businesses representing an estimated 130,000 Norfolk employees.

Last night BT said its latest pledge to upgrade the Norwich exchange – which follows a similar announcement for Sheringham and Dereham in January – would take the number of Norfolk homes and businesses with access to its super-fast network to 55,000.

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Dave Hughes, regional director, said: 'This latest BT investment is another important step forward in the development of highly sophisticated communications in our region.'

The city's exchange was chosen based on a number of factors including the expected take-up, levels of support and interest and the predicted performance of the technology.

Last night Norwich South MP Simon Wright welcomed the news. He said: 'Reliable and fast internet access is increasingly important for businesses and households. Increasingly, how we access services and entertainment will rely on access to fast broadband connections, and after years of frustration we are finally seeing real progress in Norfolk.'

victoria.leggett@archant.co.uk

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