Work to build full-fibre broadband is due to start in over 25 villages in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire this month with dozens more on the cusp of signing up amid strong demand for faster and more reliable broadband during the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be revealed.
County Broadband, a specialist rural full-fibre network and broadband provider, has announced its Hyperfast rollout across rural south Cambridgeshire and Norfolk has grown to include 57 villages, totaling 15,900 premises. It is hoped the new digital infrastructure will be built by spring 2021.
Of these, construction has started in three villages in Cambridgeshire: Fowlmere, Newton, Thriplow. A further five villages in the county have also met the sign-up target required to build the networks: Broughton, Great Eversden, Little Eversden, Orwell, Whaddon. Work is set to start later this month.
Meanwhile, in south Norfolk, including the Breckland area, 18 villages have given the go-ahead to start construction: Aslacton, Banham, Bressingham, Bunwell, Carleton Rode, Forncett, Great Moulton, Kenninghall, Needham, North Lopham, Old Buckenham, Pulham Market, Pulham St. Mary, Shelfanger, Starston, Tibenham, Wacton, and Winfarthing. Work is due to start in mid-late October.
Elsewhere in Norfolk, a further 15 villages are expected to reach by Christmas or early 2021 the required number of sign-ups to also approve the plans to build the Hyperfast full-fibre networks: Blo’ Norton, Bridgham, Carbrooke, Caston, Great Hockham, Harling, New Buckenham, Quidenham, Roudham & Larling, South Lopham, Tacolneston, Shropham, Stow Bedes, Snetterton and Wretham.
While in Cambridgeshire, 16 villages are also close to signing up: Abington Pigotts, Barrington, Bassingbourn Cum Kneesworth, Bourn, Guilden Morden, Harston, Haslingfield, Kingston, Litlington, Little Gransden, Longstowe, Meldreth, Shepreth, Steeple Morden, Toft, Waresley-cum-Tetworth.
Speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps will be available – nearly 20 times faster than the UK average – while Engineers have been granted key worker status amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the East Anglia-based provider, backed by a £46 million private investment by Aviva Investors, confirmed.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is relying on local providers like County Broadband to achieve his flagship target of UK-wide gigabit-speed connectivity by 2025. It forms part of his “infrastructure revolution” to catch up with the rest of the world and support the Covid-19 economic recovery. The news also follows his fresh advice to work from home during winter.
Lloyd Felton, chief executive of County Broadband, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of our creaking copper infrastructure that is stifling productivity and holding back innovation at such a critical time. Boris Johnson has told the nation to remote work but some of us, like in rural south Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, can’t even have a Zoom call. We need future-ready networks now more than ever.
“That’s why we’re driving our plans to build Hyperfast full-fibre networks in these initial 57 villages with great gusto. We want to help restart the economic engine and give the region a huge investment in its infrastructure to support residents and businesses.”
Full-fibre broadband uses fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure in which fibre optic cables are installed directly into the premises, offering download and uploads speeds of 1,000Mbps. It replaces fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) Victorian copper-based infrastructure on which ‘superfast’ is based.
The deployment of full-fibre broadband could be worth £5.38bn to the East of England economy over the next five years, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
The UK fell 13 places in global rankings for internet speeds and is now among the slowest in Europe in 47th place, new research by Cable.co.uk found last month. The nation’s 54.2 Mbps average speeds are due to only 12% of premises having access to full-fibre infrastructure – meaning 88% residents and businesses currently rely on Victorian ‘superfast’ copper-based infrastructure.
Visit http://www.countybroadband.co.uk to see if the service is available in your area and for more details.