BT seals Norfolk superfast broadband deal

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Media captionNorfolk County Council said the deal would provide "superfast" speeds of 24 Mbps

Telecoms giant BT has been awarded a multimillion-pound contract to provide superfast broadband in Norfolk.

Norfolk County Council said the deal would provide "superfast" speeds of 24 Mbps and above to 83% of the county's homes and businesses by June 2015.

Improvements to the network will also mean that every home will be able to access speeds of at least 2 Mbps.

The council said the deal would be signed shortly, subject to confirmation of a £15m government grant.

Norfolk was one of only four counties in the country to be given broadband funding from the government in May 2011, due to its rural location and slow speeds.

Norfolk County Council said it would match the £15m government funding and BT would contribute an initial £9.3m towards the installation and maintenance of the network.

The council said in three years' time the majority of homes in Norfolk would have access to the internet via fibre optic cable.

It said out of the homes that will not have access to superfast speeds (24 Mbps) by 2015, the majority will be able to download data at speeds "significantly higher" than the minimum level of 2 Mbps.

The first part of the broadband rollout is due to take place next year.

Ian Mackie, deputy leader at Norfolk County Council and vice chairman of the Better Broadband for Norfolk steering group, said: "This deal will benefit Norfolk and its people for decades to come and help to create a legacy of opportunity and competitiveness in a way that no other investment could.

"The importance of broadband to almost every area of modern life cannot be underestimated.

"This day will, I am sure, come as a welcome relief for the hundreds of thousands of people living and working in the county who are hamstrung by no or severely limited access to broadband in Norfolk."

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