Norfolk businesses seek out faster broadband


Businesses based in Norfolk are calling on telecoms companies to provide them with faster broadband connections as they continue to be left out of fibre upgrades.

A newly formed campaign group called Faster Future is asking providers like BT to think about Norfolk in their plans and put in a fibre network to help out their businesses as it has done all over the country.

BT has continued to rollout its next generation broadband services across the country, naming over 150 telephone exchanges that will receive the benefits of up to 40Mbps broadband access. However, none of these have fallen in the Norfolk area.

"Here in King's Lynn and West Norfolk the internet is accessed using telephone lines; telephone lines that were not designed to deliver broadband," said the Faster Future website.

"At the time of launching our campaignwe did not know if we had made it onto BT's long list for the next phase of their roll-out we now know that we have not made it onto BT's list."

The group is now more determined than ever to sign up more support from local business around 700 are already members as well as residents in the wider area.

It has gained the support of local council members as well as the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce.

Phil Harris, technology spokesman for the Chamber, and managing director of IT company Norcom Technology, said in a statement: "If companies find it difficult to transfer data in Norfolk, they are less likely to locate to this area and companies that are here may find they can operate better elsewhere."

"It's like being left on a single carriageway when elsewhere they have motorways. When the speed of broadband increases, new services will start making use of thatgreater speed and if we haven't got fast broadband, we will not get any of those new services."

BT has defended its position, saying its continued investment in advanced copper networks has provided speeds of up to 24Mbps for many parts of the East of England.

"BT's 1.5 billion investment in fibre-based broadband will deliver speeds of between 40Mbps and 100Mbps to 40 per cent of UK homes and businesses by Summer 2012," it added.

"Only 25 per cent of the plans for fibre-based broadband have been announced so far, so it is far too early to conclude that any area of the country has been "excluded.""

If BT don't adhere to the requests of the East Anglia businesses, however, maybe other companies can come to their aid.

Today has also seen the announcement Easynet Connect's new 100Mbps fibre service aimed at the small and medium business market.

The company is offering the connection at a fixed rate price of 15,000, removing the varying costs that can be associated for business customers.

Chris Stening, managing director of Easynet Connect, said in a statement: "Fibre has often been an expensive luxury beyond the reach of most small businesses. But with such a competitive price, Easynet Connect Fibre brings next-generation, reliable and expandable connectivity within reach of hundreds of thousands of UK businesses."

Unfortunately for Norfolk the company is only starting within the boundaries of the M25. However, it is prepared to extend nationally depending on customer demand so maybe Faster Future can tempt it to East Anglia.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.