‘Better Broadband for Norfolk’ switches on its first fibre broadband cabinet
The village of Croxton near Thetford, has today (Friday July 5) become the first community in the county to get connected to high-speed fibre broadband under a partnership between Norfolk County Council and BT.
Dozens of homes and businesses in the village can now access the new broadband technology, which provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps , with the potential for even faster speeds in the future.
Members of the local community, Norfolk County Council, BT and representatives from central Government attended a celebration event in Croxton Village Hall to mark the first street fibre cabinet being switched on and the official launch of the service.
Residents will now be able to work faster and more efficiently, as well as enjoying a boost in speeds for their home entertainment. This will allow them to download movies, transfer files, watch TV replay services, surf the internet and play online games – all at the same time. Downloading a whole music album could take them less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.
Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, said: "Access to superfast broadband will play a key factor in driving growth and boosting local economies around the UK. Norfolk was one of the first local authorities to bid successfully for funding under the framework contract, and I'm delighted that they're also one of the first counties to be enjoying much faster speeds as a result.”
George Nobbs, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: "This isn't just about Croxton. But the residents here are the first to benefit from superfast speeds delivered by this partnership and thousands more will follow across Norfolk in the coming months as the programme develops.
“We announced only last month that around 3,500 homes and businesses at about 30 locations in Norfolk will be able to access better broadband earlier than anticipated. There will be more and more of these announcements in the coming months and by the end of 2013 we will be well on our way to transforming our broadband landscape forever.” *
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for next generation access, said: “It is a fantastic achievement that people in Norfolk are already seeing the benefits of this programme. This investment in fibre broadband will boost the local economy and help to create or protect local jobs both in communities like Croxton village and across the whole of Norfolk. It will be of enormous benefit to local businesses which can use the faster speeds to improve their competitiveness both within the UK and abroad.”
George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk who has led for Norfolk MPs on broadband issues, commented: “It is excellent news that the first area to receive fibre broadband services in the UK under the BDUK framework is in Norfolk. This, alongside further investment in our communications and transport infrastructure, will enable Norfolk’s economy to thrive.”
Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, added: "It really is great to see this important milestone towards the Norfolk business community getting the faster broadband they need to the drive Norfolk's economy forward.”
The Better Broadband for Norfolk programme was launched to help large parts of Norfolk that currently suffer from slow or no broadband access. In 2011 the council pledged £15 million to the scheme, and this was matched by central Government as it became one of the first local authorities in the UK to be successful in bidding for BDUK funding under the framework contract.
In addition to covering the ongoing costs of supporting and maintaining the network, BT is making an £11 million contribution towards the cost of installing the fibre infrastructure, bringing the total capital investment in the project to £41 million.
The deal between BT and the County Council means that more than 80 per cent of Norfolk’s homes and businesses are expected to be able to access high-speed fibre broadband services by the end of 2015. The programme also aims to provide all homes and businesses with a minimum broadband speed of 2Mbps within the same timescale.
Without Norfolk County Council’s intervention, there would have been no timetable for these improvements and an estimated 57 per cent of the county’s premises would have had no access to fibre broadband in two and a half years’ time.
BT’s network is open to all service providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Norfolk consumers and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market.
For more information about the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme, visit www.betterbroadbandnorfolk.co.uk.
Notes to editors
*To see a full list of the first 30 communities to benefit from the initial tranche of the Better Broadband programme, visit www.betterbroadbandnorfolk.co.uk
Further announcements about the roll out of broadband will be made every two months once survey work has been completed