Rallying cry for Norfolk villages to take advantage of full fibre vouchers
Openreach is asking people living in parts of Norfolk to get behind a push for faster broadband.
Ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband is within touching distance for people living in Holt, Mattishall, Stoke Holy Cross and Poringland – thanks to Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership scheme and the efforts of local councillor Vic Thomson.
The company – the UK’s largest broadband network used by customers of BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen - is urging people living in those areas to consider pooling Gigabit broadband vouchers available from the UK Government to help build a new, gigabit-capable network, where fibre is run directly from the exchange all the way to each property.
Many residents in the four communities have already pledged their support, but those who haven’t and don’t have access to a 100Mbps broadband service can check if they qualify and pledge their voucher on the Connect My Community website.
If enough people come forward and utilise the vouchers, it enables Openreach to work with the community to build a customised, co-funded network and bring full fibre broadband to areas not included in any existing private or publicly subsidised upgrade schemes.
By working with Openreach in this way, more than 150,000 homes and businesses across the UK can already benefit from ultrafast, ultra-reliable broadband.
Laura Whelan, Openreach’s partnership director for the East of England (pictured right), said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for these Norfolk communities to bring full fibre infrastructure to their area.
“Everyone who pledges a voucher will be doing their bit to help make the county one of the best-connected places in the East of England. Pledging couldn’t be simpler, but we need residents to act quickly – as the scheme closes at the end of next month (March 2021).”
Laura added: “Thousands of homes and businesses across East Anglia can already upgrade to the Openreach full fibre network and local people can use our online postcode checker to see what’s now available.
“We’re investing £12 billion to build full fibre broadband to 20 million homes – and more than three million of those will be in the toughest third of the UK – but we can’t upgrade the whole country alone. This latest support from government, alongside help to remove red tape and barriers that slow down the build, is vital.”
To claim vouchers which contribute towards the cost of building the new network, residents are asked to commit to ordering a full fibre service from a provider of their choice for at least 12 months once the new network is available.
Eligible residents qualify for up to £1,500 for rural homes and up to £3,500 for small and medium-sized businesses under the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.
Norfolk County Councillor Vic Thomson, backed the initiative, saying: “Now, more than ever, rural communities need fantastic connectivity to fully interact with the world. Full fibre technology will make a massive difference to local homes and businesses and I urge residents to consider pledging their Gigabit broadband vouchers for the common good and help make sure that nobody’s left behind.”
UK Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “We're committed to levelling up communities across the UK with lightning-fast gigabit broadband that will improve lives and boost the economy.
"The broadband vouchers on offer provide immediate financial help for people to get next-generation speeds by helping to cover the installation costs of companies such as Openreach.
"I urge people to check online if they are eligible for a broadband boost."
Full fibre technology provides more reliable, resilient and future-proof connectivity; meaning fewer faults; more predictable, consistent speeds and enough capacity to easily meet growing data demands. It's also future-proof, which means it will serve generations to come and won’t need to be upgraded for decades.
Fibre optics - strands of glass around one-tenth the thickness of a human hair - transmit data using light signals. Fibre is smaller, lighter and more durable than copper cabling and less vulnerable to damage. This short video explains what full fibre technology is and there’s more info here.
Openreach recently announced 295 new East of England jobs. Across the UK, the company employs more than 34,500 people, including more than 25,000 engineers who build, maintain and connect customers to its nationwide broadband network. Of these, more than 3,300 are based in the East of England.