Deal to get superfast broadband for Norfolk agreed
Getting broadband access to thousands of homes in Norfolk is of more importance to the county's infrastructure than dualling of the A11, the leader of Norfolk County Council has claimed.
Norfolk County Council's cabinet today (Monday) agreed to appoint BT for a project which is the first of its kind in the country and will revolutionise the county's internet network.
The multi-million pound project will put superfast broadband services within reach of more than 80pc of properties by June 2015 and more than double the number of properties in the county that have access to speeds of at least 24 megabits per second (Mbps).
It would mean every single home and business in the county would be able to access a basic usable minimum of 2Mbps – including the 44,000 properties currently languishing in broadband 'not spots'.
The county council has secured �15m of government funding to match its own financial stake in the scheme and will now sign a contract within weeks.
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At today's council meeting, councillors praised the success of the Say Yes to Broadband campaign, led by the Eastern Daily Press, which saw more than 15,000 homes and businesses calling for better broadband.
Derrick Murphy, leader of Norfolk County Council, said at the meeting: 'The Lord Lieutenant said to me that this was more important to the county's infrastructure than dualling the A11 and I think that is an understatement.
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'It is an exceptional initiative. There are no words which can say just how significant this is for the people of Norfolk.'
Ann Steward, cabinet member for economic development at Norfolk County Council, said without the investment, 57pc of the county would not have broadband by 2015, so the council's intervention was essential.
Once the contract is formally awarded later this autumn, detailed planning of the installation schedule will begin,