From Bingo to Catch Up: Will Faster Internet Give Norwich a Boost?
Earlier in 2020, it was announced that CityFibre and Norwich City Council would work together to bring faster broadband to the city of Norwich. 97,000 buildings would be covered – both residential and commercial. The services are expected to improve the state of the internet by laying more fibre optic cables, which could see internet users benefitting from speeds of around 1,000MB/s and almost unlimited bandwidth. The improved speed and reliability will definitely be noticeable and – for many – welcomed with open arms.
How will this internet boost reflect the changing times and the ways we connect with the digital age?
Statistics consistently show that we are spending an increasing amount of time watching online entertainment. The rise and competition of streaming services – Netflix being the current reigning champ – means that we are bombarded with instantaneous entertainment. As such, more people are needing the internet to engage with their ‘TV’ than would normally have watched traditional cable or satellite TV.
Ofcom released statistics from 2020 that showed on average, we spend six hours watching something daily. For the under-34s, this included 31% broadcast content and a whopping 69% of streaming entertainment services, gaming, and other forms of video. The over-34s watched significantly more broadcast content (59%), but this figure is likely to change as many older people engage with streaming services. Indeed, 3 million people recently began using a streaming service for the first time.
Online casino is possibly one of the best case studies for why we need strong internet and what we can do with a focus on bandwidth speed. The industry took the traditional casino games – poker, roulette, blackjack, slots, etc – and even some other games such as bingo and turned them into online versions. Not only was the industry able to retain the gameplay that attracted players in the first place but take advantage of tech developments to find new ways of engaging their fans.
For example, slot games went from clunky machines to video slots based around almost any theme you could imagine – including movie and pop culture tie-ins. This range of options for players is huge, with some sites offering hundreds of different slot variants. Bingo fans who now play online bingo for fun can benefit from games that are based around the classic bingo gameplay, but with digital differences befitting a modern age. For instance, the bingo rooms online have themes (such as the Greek Gods) and different limits for minimums to play and maximums to win, which helps players select something more personalised and specific. This can’t be done as easily in a bingo hall.
The £50 million investment in Norwich’s internet shows a commitment by the city to ‘level up’ to compete with hubs such as London and the growing areas of Birmingham and Manchester. It also reflects the growing digital needs that people are facing every day. Whether engaging with online entertainment, online bingo, or communicating through online means, it’s clear that the internet is a facilitator for all of these and that it is a necessary aspect of infrastructure for a thriving society.