A multimillion-pound contract between Norfolk County Council and BT aims to nearly double the number of Norfolk homes and businesses able to access fibre broadband within three years, has been announced.
The contract is part of the UK-government backed Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme which uses public and private funds to help roll-out fibre.
While Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet approved BT as its supplier in September 2012, it wasn’t until November 2012 that the European Union gave its state aid go-ahead for the BDUK framework.
As a result of today’s announcement, Openreach - BT’s local network division - will now begin work surveying locations around the county. This will allow BT to refine its draft designs to roll out its fibre network across the county to help ensure as many properties as possible can receive fibre.
Once these surveys are completed details of the next stage of the project - which will see work to upgrade a number of the major exchanges in Norfolk - will be published.
The first new services made possible by the upgraded infrastructure are due to be made available by the end of 2013. The Better Broadband for Norfolk project is set to be completed by autumn 2015.
“Norfolk needs access to high speed broadband so it can continue to be recognised as a good place to do business and live. The number and quality of services, facilities and applications that businesses and individuals are able to access due to high-speed broadband is increasing, and the benefits are rising exponentially.
“This project should prove to be the much needed catalyst to help regenerate the county’s predominantly rural economy,” he said.