County Broadband, a specialist provider based in East Anglia, has unveiled plans to connect thousands of homes and businesses in rural Norfolk to full fibre broadband following the rollout in Essex earlier this year.
The firm has initially identified over 20 villages in Norfolk where it aims to build its future-ready gigabit-capable full fibre network, offering ultrafast and hyperfast speeds. The villages would have some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK, at up to 20 times the national average. The project is funded in part by a £46million private investment by Aviva Investors.
Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “We are very excited to announce our first full fibre rollout plans in Norfolk to help transform the county’s digital landscape and rural economies. Our investment in Norfolk’s infrastructure will not only make many forgotten villages fit-for-the future but will also place them in the top 7% for UK digital connectivity.”
Rural communities have long suffered poor broadband compared with urban areas. Recent Ofcom research* found the average download speed in the UK countryside was 28Mbps, compared with 63Mbps in urban areas, highlighting the digital divide.
With data usage widely predicted to increase 10-fold every six years, only full fibre can keep pace with consumer demand.
The Norfolk villages included in the initial rollout now have the choice of pre-ordering the new network or staying with their current providers. It is understood there are no other full fibre broadband providers planning to rollout in rural parts of Norfolk currently.
At least 30% of residents and businesses must commit to pre-ordering to give the green light to start construction in each village. The network would be installed next year and be available to all premises.
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