Schools and village halls offered free access to ultrafast broadband
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Rural schools and community halls in villages around Diss and Thetford are set to be offered free next-generation ultrafast broadband as part of roll-out plans.
The offer from East Anglian internet service provider County Broadband, which specialises in bringing broadband into difficult to get to rural areas, could prove a huge boost to schools and community groups in small rural communities.
The Essex-based company is in the process of offering homes and businesses in 20 villages in South Norfolk and Breckland its hyperfast gigabit-capable network that provides broadband speeds up to 1,000 Mbps which is 20 times faster than the national average.
At least 30pc of residents and businesses in each village need to commit to pre-ordering for the green light to start construction.
But as part of its roll-out plans, partly funded by a £46 million private investment, schools and village halls will be offered a free connection and service if the village signs up.
Lloyd Felton, County Broadband chief executive, said: "We know schools and village halls are the lifeblood for rural areas which the local community relies on. That's why we're today announcing our exciting offer of equipping them with lightning-fast broadband which would put them in the top eight per cent for digital connectivity in the UK and get them future-ready to take full advantage of new data-hungry technologies."
With full fibre speeds schools could take advantage of the latest technology for use in the classroom whilst village halls could provide video-conferencing and transform public events, community groups and the services they offer such as computer support workshops.
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It would also provide a boost for centres which run films nights or showcase live sporting events as it would mean content could be streamed reliability and at the highest HD or 4K quality.
A number of public meetings at villages that struggle with current broadband speeds have already been held, including at Old Buckenham, to discuss whether residents and businesses would be willing to sign up for the service that would see villagers used to being stuck in the digital slow lane gain some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK.