Dereham and Sheringham set to benefit from superfast broadband

Two Norfolk communities are among 41 market towns set to benefit from super-fast broadband in spring 2012.

Dereham and Sheringham feature on BT's latest list of upgrades to 40Mb/s fibre optic cables.

But last night the towns' MPs warned the move would highlight the difference between the county's broadband haves and have-nots.

BT said the locations were chosen in response to intense lobbying from Norfolk communities, the county council and Shaping Norfolk's Future. The move is part of a commitment to deliver faster broadband speeds to more rural parts of the country.

Exchanges in Drayton, near Norwich, Wootton, near King's Lynn, and St Faiths, Norwich, were included in previous announcements.

Annette Thorpe, BT's regional partnership director, said it was a 'major coup' for Norfolk and she hoped there would be more upgrades announced in the future.

Glen Minter, director of computer service and supply business Anglian Internet, welcomed the news. He has outlets in four towns including Dereham and Sheringham and finds speeds are often slower than the 6 to 8Mb/s he was promised. 'It causes us problems because we do a lot of laptop and PC repairs and have to download updates for customers which can take a long time,' he said.

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MPs for towns said they, too, were delighted. Mid Norfolk's George Freeman said: 'Finally, residents in Dereham can look forward to a consistently fast service worthy of a great town in the 21st century.'

But he and north Norfolk MP Norman Lamb warned pressure to upgrade other exchanges in the county must continue. Mr Lamb said: 'We need to also focus on universal coverage. This will serve to highlight the extreme contrast between what's possible and what's actually happening in most places.'