Norfolk leads the call to fix Britain’s internet
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011
Norfolk has always enjoyed a slower pace of life. But, when it comes to connecting to the internet, slow speeds have left some communities feeling disconnected from the rest of the world.
Now more people in Norfolk than any other area in the UK have seized the opportunity to have their voice heard on the future of Britain's internet as part of national campaign for better broadband.
Over the last few weeks, thousands of households and businesses across the county have contacted the telecoms regulator, Ofcom, to call for radical changes to the national internet network – BT Openreach.
This is a result of the campaign to Fix Britain's Internet, an initiative that is urging members of the public to have their say in Ofcom's once in a decade review of broadband in the UK.
Keith Simpson, MP for Broadland, is backing the campaign and is hoping more people from his constituency take this opportunity to demand the broadband the nation deserves.
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He said: 'It's terrible that we are forced to deal with some of the slowest broadband speeds not just in the UK, but the world.
'It's taking far too long for acceptable broadband speeds to be made available, particularly in Norfolk and in my Broadland constituency, meaning people aren't getting the internet they need and deserve to work, play or just stay connected.
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'The current Ofcom consultation is a chance for us to finally change the state of Britain's broadband for the better and ensure everyone, no matter where they live, can enjoy the same fast, reliable Internet.'
Norwich features amongst the top 10 slowest cities in the UK for broadband with an average speed of 19.43Mbps, a long way behind the UK average of 28.9Mpbs.
Shortthorn Road in Stratton Strawless is one of the Top 10 slowest streets in the UK for broadband with speeds of 0.964Mbps.
A survey of over 800 businesses and farmers in the East Anglia region revealed that 31pc can only receive a home broadband connection that has less than 2Mbps .
And one in seven (14pc) of those living in the Norfolk area believe that their internet is actually getting worse.
Stratton Strawless parish councillor Trevor Dann, who lives on Shorthorn Road, said: 'It has always been slow.'
Openreach, BT's local network business, has announced it has completed another major recruitment drive in the East of England in order to improve customer service across the region.
The latest recruitment has included the hiring of 117 engineers and 27 apprentices in the East of England to help install new lines and fix faults more quickly.
The new recruits are also working on rolling out fibre broadband to more households and businesses beyond the more than 2.4 million premises in the region, which already have access to the high speed technology.
Areas where the latest Openreach recruits are based include Broadland, Norwich, Cambridge, St Albans and Southend.
Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: 'Improving the service that we provide to customers is my number one priority, and these new engineering recruits will be helping us connect more people on time and fix faults faster.
'Openreach is already rolling out superfast fibre broadband and is helping the Government achieve its aim of reaching 95 per cent of UK premises by the end of 2017.
'As we take the UK beyond superfast, many of these engineers will also be helping us get ultrafast speeds to up to 12 million homes by the end of 2020.'
As the public consultation closes in less than two weeks, those who believe Norfolk, and Britain deserve better broadband, are being urged to act now by visiting www.fixbritainsinternet.co.uk.