Villagers urged to back scheme to connect hyperfast broadband
PUBLISHED: 10:31 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:31 27 November 2019
Residents in a cluster of villages in South Norfolk are being urged to back a scheme that could bring hyperfast broadband to homes and businesses.
A community meeting has been organised to discuss an offer from internet service provider County Broadband, which specialises in bringing broadband into difficult to get to rural areas, to connect households in Pulham Market, Pulham St Mary and Starston.
The Essex-based company is in the process of offering 20 villages in South Norfolk and Breckland its hyperfast gigabit-capable network that provides broadband speeds up to 1,000 Mbps which is 20 times faster than the national average.
At least 30pc of residents and businesses in each village need to commit to pre-ordering for the green light to start construction.
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The public meeting to be held at The Pennoyer Centre in Pulham St Mary on Monday, December 2, from 7.30pm to 9pm, which will include representatives from County Broadband to answer questions, is the latest to be staged across South Norfolk.
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A similar meeting to discuss whether the hyperfast network should be installed in Old Buckenham was hailed a success with around 70 people attending.
District councillor Clayton Hudson, who lives in Pulham St Mary and has a background in telecommunications and civil engineering, has written to residents urging them to attend.
He said: "It would be fair to say initially there was an element of 'if it looks too good to be true then it probably is'. However, after a period of due diligence over the past three months and looking into this very carefully including asking some very probing questions, I am now personally convinced that a hyperfast fibre broadband service can be delivered in 2020 if enough residents sign up and pre-order the service."
As part of the roll-out plans, partly funded by a £46 million private investment, schools and village halls will be offered a free connection and service if the villages sign up.
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Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: "This is a golden chance for rural Norfolk to become flagbearers for world-class digital connectivity in the region and unlock all the potential of hyperfast full fibre broadband, but it can only happen with the support of local communities which drive forward this ambition."
Other villages in South Norfolk have taken a different approach to bringing hyperfast broadband to homes.
As part of the B4RN project, a not-for-profit community scheme, local volunteers are laying kilometres of glass fibre optic cable themselves to connect places including Scole, Dickleburgh, Burston, Tivetshall, Gissing, Brockdish and Thorpe Abbotts.