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People living in rural Norfolk promised superfast broadband by 2020

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:50 24 February 2018

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock and MP for south west Norfolk Liz Truss attend a meeting in Weeting Village Hall to discuss broadband in rural Norfolk

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock and MP for south west Norfolk Liz Truss attend a meeting in Weeting Village Hall to discuss broadband in rural Norfolk

Archant

Homes in the most rural parts of Norfolk have been promised superfast broadband by 2020, by the culture secretary.

Elizabeth Truss MP, Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock and representatives of BT Open Reach attend a meeting in Weeting Village Hall, near Thetford.Elizabeth Truss MP, Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock and representatives of BT Open Reach attend a meeting in Weeting Village Hall, near Thetford.

People living in some of South West Norfolk’s most isolated locations have been assured by the culture secretary Matt Hancock that they will have access to speeds of 10mbps within two years.

The assurances fall in line with the Universal Service Obligation of access to superfast broadband announced by the government last year, which gives people a legal right to superfast broadband.

Mr Hancock made the promise, along with the news that small business would soon be able to apply for vouchers of up to £3,500 to help them get online at a public meeting in Weeting Village Hall, near Thetford on Friday night.

Organised by the MP for South West Norfolk Elizabeth Truss, the meeting was an opportunity for parish and town councillors to quiz the culture secretary on the roll-out of broadband in rural Norfolk.

Following the meeting Mr Hancock said: “It was a very positive meeting, across Norfolk 90pc of villages have access to broadband but we are determined to get the final 10pc access too.”

When asked how important it was to the government that rural homes were connected Mr Hancock said: “We think it is critical. It is no longer a nice to have, it’s a utility and the fact that tonight both Liz Truss and myself were at the meeting to make the case shows how strongly we feel that everybody needs to have broadband and that broadband is vital.”

Mike Nairn, Chairman of Weeting Parish Council, who attended the meeting said the evening had been well attended by representatives from parishes across south west Norfolk.

“As far as I’m concerned first and foremost within Weeting we have got a very good connection in comparison to other villages in south west Norfolk.

“But there are number of issues in areas such as Shingham, Cockley Cley and Welney which were taken on board by the minister and also by open reach and the various communities will be advised accordingly.”

In 2017 average broadband speeds in south west Norfolk were 43% lower than the national average.

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