City MP calls for faster Norwich broadband
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A city MP has said it is important that Norwich is not forgotten about when it comes to efforts to get better broadband for Norfolk.
Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat MP for Norwich South, has backed the countywide campaign for faster broadband services, but said parts of the city were also struggling with slow speeds.
Mr Wright recently raised the issue with a parliamentary question when he asked what proportion of households in each parliamentary constituency in Norfolk had access to broadband at speeds of 2Mb or above - the speed the government wants to make available to everybody.
Parliamentary under secretary Edward Vaizey, told him Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) had modelled the country to establish what provision there was, but the data was not available because a non-disclosure agreement had been signed with the supplier of the information.
Mr Wright said: “I wanted a better understanding as to what access was like across the county, but was told that would not be disclosed.
“But the government has committed £530m up to 2015 to encourage investment in broadband and a further £50m for projects to be announced in May.”
Norfolk County Council has long been trying to get better broadband for Norfolk and Ann Steward, cabinet member for sustainable development, has said it is one of the authority’s key priorities.
The council has been in discussions with BDUK to discuss what they are looking for in a successful bid ahead of a submission.
But Mr Wright said the focus for better broadband should not solely be on Norfolk. He said: “It’s a bit of a mixed bag in Norwich. I have had complaints from people who say their broadband speed is not what the companies who provided it to them said it would be.
“It’s patchy even in Norwich and if you are a business with clients and customers in other parts of the county then it is a vital issue that the broadband is up to speed.”
The county’s economic development partnership Shaping Norfolk’s Future has been running a campaign to get better broadband in the county.
And commercial company Babcock International has been building a network in Norwich to offer fast, wireless broadband services for businesses in the city centre.
The Evening News reported in November how Hethersett was named as the country’s fourth worst broadband location - with an average speed of 1.6mb.
But families in the village surprised at that status, with some registering speeds of up to 9mb, although many agreed it slowed down in the evenings.
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