The cost of broadband could exclude vulnerable people from communicating as households are connected to fibre technology, a councillor has warned.

England is on track for one of the fastest roll-outs of broadband and fibre technology in Europe, with a government target for at least 85pc gigabit capable coverage across the UK by the end of 2025, according to recent Broadland District Council report.

And Norfolk County Council is leading on the major rollout of connecting homes across the region to broadband through fibre infrastructure.

This is replacing the copper wire technology from government funds through Project Gigabit and Better Broadband for Norfolk.

But Thorpe St Andrew homeowner Eleanor Laming, Green Party district councillor for Brundall, said: "When all the telephone exchange buildings are gone, they are gone."

Plans have been submitted to Norwich City Council to build retirement flats on the site of the former Westwick Street BT telephone exchange.

Landlines will now be connected to the network via an internet router.

Mrs Laming accepted there was no future for the current landline network adding: "Norfolk County Council is working hard on the fibre/broadband project and the government wants to roll it out across the country.

"We all want better connectivity. Our lives are changing rapidly and it would be very difficult to work and communicate without broadband.

"The issue I have is people struggling with cost of living. We are seeing people who cannot afford broadband."

Jamie Price, head of operations for Age UK Norwich, said: "We help people aged over 50 and a lot of people we support are embracing technology. They became more IT proficient through the Covid pandemic.

"There are concerns about digital exclusion because of the affordability and nervousness of technology."

He added it was vital vulnerable people have help with navigating new technology.

Jen Field, supporting and enabling manager for Age UK Norfolk, said: "‘It’s vital there are a range of communication methods available to older people.

"Having the disposable income to afford digital devices and broadband is not an easy option for many living on a small, fixed income.

"Age UK Norfolk is working hard to tackle digital exclusion and reduced incomes."