Norfolk tops for superfast broadband roll out

Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for the Environment and member of a new government digital task force meeting Andy Hibbs, Craft ICT. ANL-151108-163246001
Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for the Environment and member of a new government digital task force meeting Andy Hibbs, Craft ICT. ANL-151108-163246001
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Norfolk’s better broadband programme has connected more users to superfast broadband than any other county in England, it has announced.

As the Government boasts that its £780m Broadband Delivery UK programme, of which the Norfolk and Suffolk campaigns are part, has given three million homes superfast broadband, Norfolk has connected 169,072 and Suffolk has hit 96,891.

The Norfolk businesses to benefit include husband and wife team Andy and Val Hibbs run IT business Craft ICT from their home office in in Mundford. They were one of the first to sign up to the new service when superfast broadband arrived in the village recently.

Andy said: “Our broadband speeds rocketed from 4Mbps to 60Mbps in the space of minutes. We knew it was exactly what we needed to make our business run more efficiently.

“Whenever we wanted to complete software upgrades or download customer files we’d have to set it to download or upload overnight because it would take so long, What used to take hours can now be done in the blink of an eye.”

He showed the difference it made to his MP Liz Truss, Secretary of State for the Environment and member of a new government digital task force,

She said: “I’ve met businesses in Mundford who are making fantastic use of improved broadband – supplying clients in Brazil, Myanmar and the US. It’s for this reason that the roll out of superfast broadband is so important to the rural economy.”

But it is not good enough for the country business group CLA whose eastern regional director Ben Underwood said: “Government should not be congratulating itself until we have universal broadband provision, for all homes and for businesses everywhere.

“Rural firms and countryside communities have been strangled by poor or non-existent broadband for far too long.

“The roll-out programme highlighted today is important and we acknowledge the success it has achieved, but for thousands of homes and businesses with no, or inadequate, broadband this announcement will not be a reassurance.”