Published: 15th May 2013
Norfolk County Council is considering alternative ways of improving broadband connections in rural parts of the region.
The local authority has already signed a £30 million deal with BT, which promises to provide 80 per cent of the county's households and businesses with a super-fast connection by 2015. For the remaining 20 per cent who are located in broadband 'not spots', minimum speeds of two Mbps will be guaranteed.
However George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, has expressed concern about how long rural areas will have to wait for the improved service, the Eastern Daily Press reports.
Mr Freeman campaigned for a £15 million grant from the government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme, but claimed "we can't wait three years".
"I continue to support the council and BD UK scheme, but feel that we can’t just sit on our hands and wait for BT when there is a range of innovative local schemes out there," he stated
The MP added that for people who live in a rural part of Norfolk and in a not spot "it’s incredibly debilitating".
To try to combat this issue, a public meeting will be held on May 17th to showcase other internet providers who could provide an improved service in the near future.
One viable option for not spot residents is satellite broadband. This can provide connection speeds of up to 20 Mbps, which is ten times faster than the two Mbps minimum guaranteed by the government.
Mr Freeman said that having access to faster broadband is crucial for Norfolk and would play an important role in boosting the local economy.
He claimed rural areas in particular are being seriously held back by poor telecommunications services and internet connections.
"Our area has hundreds of micro businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs working close to home, young people who need remote access to learning and job opportunities, families and pensioners who need access to e-health and public services", the MP added.
He believes that by gaining access to better broadband Norfolk can lead in a "rural renaissance".
Posted by Mark Wynn
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