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Norfolk County Council pledges £15m towards faster broadband
Council is bidding for share of the £530m Broadband Delivery UK fund to bring better internet access to the countyNorfolk County Council is pledging £15m to help unlock a ￡60m investment in the county's broadband networks.
It is bidding against 24 local authorities in the UK for a share of £530m held by Government agency Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).
In the bid, the council looks to BDUK to match its £15m contribution, with a further £30m needed from a private sector partner to help make superfast broadband available across the county by the end of March 2015.
The County Council's £15m funding would be met by borrowing, with borrowing costs met from the Norfolk Infrastructure Fund, and from future IT contract savings.
BDUK funding is targeted at making broadband available to people who are unlikely to have access to superfast broadband via private sector providers by 2015. In Norfolk, this figure is projected to be 60 per cent of the county's population.
Independent research commissioned by the council shows the 'Better Broadband for Norfolk' project bid would create an additional 1,337 jobs and boost the county's economy by £401m over 10 years.
It would not only remove the barriers to growth, flexibility and efficiency experienced by many businesses and organisations in Norfolk but would also encourage more company start ups, particularly in rural areas, and persuade more large national and international businesses to consider Norfolk for their operations.
Norfolk County Council's bid details how greater availability of superfast broadband would help improve educational opportunities and attainment, reduce social exclusion, and lower carbon dioxide emissions and traffic congestion by enabling more home working and provide online alternatives to travelling to meetings and the supermarket.
Over 50,000 private and commercial properties across the county have no broadband access or suffer slow internet speeds of less than 2Mbs.
If successful, the County Council's bid would see every single property in Norfolk able to access 2Mbs minimum broadband speeds in the next four years.
Derrick Murphy, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “Without doubt, Norfolk currently suffers disproportionately from poor broadband access."
Norfolk County Council