Broadband boss explains why city streets are being dug up

Charles Kitchin, manager of CityFibre in Norwich 

Charles Kitchin, manager of CityFibre in Norwich - Credit: CityFibre

The manager of a fibre optic company has explained why streets are being dug up as part of a £50m investment to provide quicker broadband speeds to hundreds of homes across the city.

CityFibre has networks across 65 towns and cities across the UK with plans to bring full fibre broadband to up to eight million homes by the end of 2025. 

Costing £46bn, the project has been funded by a range of investors including big European banks but with no cost to the taxpayer.

Norwich itself is seeing £50m pumped into providing improved broadband speeds up to 1,000 megabyte per second. 

Small work vehicles had been left outside the city gates. 

Work taking place in Waterloo Road - Credit: Kayleigh Jane

Telec is managing traffic and roadworks for Norwich in cooperation with Norfolk County Council while CityFibre is the overall sponsor managing the project.

Teams are working in areas of about 300 to 400 homes at a time across the Fine City with Hellesdon currently affected.

This will then move on to Drayton, Taverham and Costessey. 

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Charles Kitchin, CityFibre's city manager for Norwich, estimates it will take around four to six weeks for the first homes to see the benefit of improved fibre optic broadband speeds.

Mr Kitchin said: "What it's doing is bringing full fibre to the home.

"In the past people have said they already have fibre but we do not have copper which is where you lose performance."

Some homeowners in Nursery Close and Waterloo Road have complained about barriers being placed outside their homes as a result of the works.

Barriers outside homes in Nursery Close in Hellesdon 

Barriers outside homes in Nursery Close in Hellesdon - Credit: Ben Hardy

Mr Kitchin said: "We try to go as quickly as possible. We appreciate the mess and bother it causes - and that people want to have their windows open in the summer - but the benefits this brings are huge for Norwich as a city and for businesses. 

"People get frustrated with sand and gravel but teams will sweep up and use a jet washer at the end of the works. 

"There have been complaints about damage to grass when an area is finished but we put fresh topsoil down with grass seed on top of it." 

Barriers have been put up in Nursery Close in Hellesdon 

Barriers have been put up in Nursery Close in Hellesdon - Credit: Ben Hardy

A study by consultancy Hatch estimates the impacts of CityFibre’s £50m investment in Norwich will include £314m in productivity and innovation gains, £69m from a widened workforce, £1m in Local Authority efficiency savings and £245m in increased housing value over 15 years.