County Broadband selects civil engineering partner for £146m fibre roll-out

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UK-based independent rural fibre provider County Broadband has appointed NGE as its civil engineering partner to lead its digital infrastructure investment in Norfolk.

The company is building FTTP infrastructure in 55 rural communities in Norfolk, where 20,000 rural premises will benefit from access. Earlier this year, the provider secured a further £100m in private investment from Aviva Investors to extend roll-out towards its target of 500,000rural premises in the East of England by the end of 2027, bringing the total investment to £146 million, following the £46m secured from Aviva Investors in 2018.

NGE is a civil engineering contractor based in France and operating worldwide. It was appointed to its first UK FTTP build in Liverpool in February 2021. The partnership between County Broadband and the contractor is designed to create new jobs in the region and support the growth of local SMEs in the supply chain as the new networks are built and delivered.

Lloyd Felton, founder and chief executive of County Broadband, says: ‘To deliver our exciting plans to digitally future-proof rural Norfolk with gigabit full-fibre speeds, we need committed and skilled build partners who care about our local communities as much as we do. With NGE, we have found the perfect partner to support and drive our rollout in Norfolk, given their rich heritage and proven track record of delivering significant infrastructure projects across a diverse range of sectors and environments. Building full-fibre infrastructure in rural areas at this scale is a complex task. Each project is bespoke and requires significant planning and resources, as well as the coordination of local authorities and highways, landowners and other agencies. That’s why the sooner we start, the sooner residents and businesses in rural areas can start enjoying all the benefits of full-fibre.’

Adds Scott Bicknell, UK managing director at NGE: ‘NGE is thrilled to collaborate with County Broadband as well as local communities and stakeholders. This project gives us the opportunity to deliver our mission of interacting with communities and leaving digital legacies. We are fully committed to combining field experience with functional expertise to build these new networks which will have a positive social and economic impact, whilst enabling us to invest in the local economy and discover the local talent pools.’

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