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Norfolk broadband campaign launched at The Forum in Norwich

County councillor Ann Steward speaks at the launch of theBetter Broadband for Norfolk campaign at the Forum. Picture: Denise Bradley

County councillor Ann Steward speaks at the launch of theBetter Broadband for Norfolk campaign at the Forum. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant 2012

Norfolk took its first hopeful steps towards a new technological era today as the mission to prove the undeniable demand for better broadband began in earnest.

A registration website was launched this morning at The Forum in Norwich, aimed at gathering data from tens of thousands of internet users in a bid to entice private investment in a scheme to upgrade the county’s networks.

The Better Broadband for Norfolk project has set the target of equipping the majority of the county’s neglected “not spots” with superfast speeds of at least 30 Mbps (megabits per second) by 2015.

It has already secured £30m in public funding, but needs a similar amount from the telecoms industry in order to obtain the best value solution for Norfolk.

And to convince potential bidders of the overwhelming consumer demand for the improvements, the Say Yes to Better Broadband campaign, run jointly by the Evening News’ sister paper the EDP and Norfolk County Council, needs as many people as possible to sign up.

Among the councillors, community leaders and business people who lined up to become the first to register were Ann Steward, Norfolk’s cabinet member for economic development.

“The importance of painting an accurate picture of the demand that exists in Norfolk cannot be understated,” she said.

“We know that many individuals, families, businesses and communities are held back and frustrated by poor broadband access.

“Now we need a sheer volume of people to show they want a better broadband service so we can ultimately get a deal that means the Better Broadband for Norfolk project can get superfast broadband out to as many properties as possible.

“We really need everyone’s support on this.”

For a full report on the formal launch of the Say Yes to Better Broadband campaign, see tomorrow’s Evening News.

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