£5.3 million extra to virtually eliminate Norfolk digital divide
Norfolk is one of those counties where the digital divide appears to be growing and this is because while more people have access to much faster broadband via the phase 1 project, those still waiting are feeling ever more digitally isolated. Thus the news over the last few days of an extra £129m from BT while dismissed as games by some seems to be already benefiting Norfolk, as an extra £5.3m of investment has been announced for the county above and beyond the existing phase 1 and phase 2 commitments.
This extra money is from the claw back clauses of the existing contracts and we should see other areas announcing their extra amounts soon, though it will vary from area to area. The claw back system was designed to operate over a seven year period and thus the £129m announcement from BT was a surprise last week, as everyone expected it to trickle in as dribs and drabs rather than a single announcement at this early stage.
Norfolk had a fairly low target with its phase 1 project of 80% superfast, the £17.9 million phase 2 extension while headlining itself as part of the 95% superfast commitment may actually only be aiming at 90% fibre based which would have left a good number in Norfolk missing out on a superfast experience still, so more coverage is welcome.
|thinkbroadband calculation of current fibre, superfast and USC broadband coverage in Norfolk and its Parliamentary Constituencies - 1st August 2015|
|Council Area||% fibre based||% superfast
|% cable||% Openreach FTTP||% Under 2 Mbps USC||% Under 15 Mbps|
|North West Norfolk||83.2%||75%||74%||0%||0%||2.6%||20.9%|
|South West Norfolk||83.9%||71%||68.9%||0.2%||0%||2.2%||26.7%|
The phase 1 project is due to complete by December 2015 and as 8% fibre based coverage has been added since the start of 2015 it looks almost certain that if the same pace is maintained that the project will break the 80% superfast target.