A vast digital divide between rural and urban homes in Norfolk and Suffolk has been revealed in a new set of figures.

A table by Point Topic shows North Norfolk ranking 11th from bottom in a list of UK local authorities areas without access to full fibre internet. It found 90% of premises (56,540 premises) in the local authority area lack gigabit speed access.

Other authorities also fare badly - including Mid Suffolk where 72% (36,152 premises) and East Suffolk where 66% (88,113) were excluded.

The lack of access contrasted with the big urban areas where the ability to link up was far higher. In Ipswich, just 11% (or 6,994 premises) still had no access to the network, while in Norwich it was 14% (10,209).

The average across the UK is 37% of households which are able to tap into gigabit speeds, according to a separate Connected Nations report from Ofcom.

While North Norfolk was the worst performer across the counties, others are also lagging behind with 65% of King's Lynn and West Norfolk's premises (51,701) without access, 64% in South Norfolk (44,078), 63% in Breckland (42,340) and Babergh (28,558), 52% in Broadland (32,740), 49% in West Suffolk (43,049) and 38% in Great Yarmouth (19,915), Point Topic found. In total it equates to approximately half a million premises across the two counties.

Rural broadband providers County Broadband said residents and businesses in the two counties would be "disappointed but not surprised" at the region's performance.

The Colchester-based company is aiming to connect half a million premises across the East of England to its full-fibre network by 2027 following a combined £146m private investment from Aviva Investors.

It is one of a number of local providers across the UK helping the government to deliver its target of nationwide gigabit-capable speeds by 2030.

It hopes to bridge the gap in some of the worst-hit areas of East Anglia. It is designing and building fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure in more than 250 villages in Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire.

It is working on 55 rural communities in Norfolk, including in North Norfolk, Breckland, Broadland, and South Norfolk areas which will connect up 20,000 rural premises.

Its sales director James Salmon said: “Residents and local businesses will be disappointed but probably not surprised to see this new research showing North Norfolk as being among the worst areas in the UK for broadband performance.

East Anglian Daily Times:

“Rural areas like North Norfolk are suffering from old ‘superfast’ copper networks which cannot keep pace with modern life and are long overdue the once-in-a-generation digital infrastructure investment that full-fibre broadband represents.

“That’s why we’re designing and building our multi-million-pound full-fibre networks in North Norfolk right now, so thousands of rural homes and businesses can benefit from gigabit speeds and network reliability in the near future.

"These projects are complex and time-consuming but we have the experience and resources to overcome these challenges.

“We were thrilled to recently announce our appointment with NGE to spearhead the physical construction of our build plans across Norfolk and ultimately ensure that everyone, no matter where you live or work, can benefit from gigabit speeds and superior reliability, and bring to an end the postcode lottery.”