MPs take Norfolk broadband fight to the top

MPs fighting for better broadband in Norfolk have made the case to a top government minister and said he was impressed by the professionalism of the county's bid.

Norfolk's MPs and the leader of Norfolk County Council yesterday met Ed Vaizey, secretary of state for communication, culture and the creative industries, to urge him to pump money into improving the county's broadband infrastructure.

Earlier this month, Norfolk County Council submitted a bid for a �15m grant from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the government body which is distributing funding for better broadband.

That 29-page bid followed the two-week Broadband: Back the Bid campaign run in the EDP, which garnered the support of almost 200 local businesses.

BDUK is assessing 25 applications for the funding, which aims to help communities struggling with super-slow internet connections and will make a decision by the end of the month.

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Yesterday, six Norfolk MPs joined County Hall leader Derrick Murphy in presenting the bid, which makes clear the county council would match the �15m from BDUK, to Mr Vaizey.

Liz Truss, South West Norfolk MP, said: 'It was a very constructive meeting. The minister and his department were impressed by how professional the bid from Norfolk County Council was. We have put together a good case and stressed how vital it is for the economy of Norfolk.'

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George Freeman, Mid Norfolk MP, said: 'It was very positive. The minister made very clear that he and his officials were very impressed by the strength of support for the Norfolk bid, from the MPs, the councils, businesses, community groups and from the EDP.

'As MPs we made all the key points to him and his officials and they saw that this is a strong case. I am confident that sooner or later we will start to see the investment.

'The key point I'd make is that this is obviously a huge issue for rural areas like my constituency in terms of job opportunities, on-line learning and access to public services, but it is also an issue for Norwich and towns such as Great Yarmouth.'

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