Fakenham horse race named in honour of Norfolk broadband campaign

Hundreds of punters at Fakenham Races will get the chance to spur on the EDP-backed campaign for better broadband as it gallops towards the finishing post.

With only two weeks to go before the registration deadline, a race at the north Norfolk track has been named in honour of the campaign to prove the commercial demand for a superfast internet upgrade in Norfolk.

The last of six races at the National Hunt meeting on Friday afternoon will be named the 'Say Yes to Better Broadband Conditional Jockeys' Maiden Hurdle' – a competition for up-and-coming riders at the beginning of their professional career.

Clerk of the course David Hunter said: 'The naming of this race is something a bit quirky which can illustrate the point on a very busy race day which coincides with the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

'It is a subject all of us in Norfolk feel very strongly about, when slow or inconsistent broadband affects our ability to work effectively.

'We're just the same as anybody running a business that relies heavily on the internet for communications. Very frequently we lose it here for an hour or two. 'Sometimes we have to go home and do things from there, where it is not much better. It is very annoying.'

Friday's race card will encourage spectators to join the 10,000 people who have already registered their interest in the Say Yes campaign. Norfolk County Council staff will also be on hand to answer questions about the authority's broadband project.

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Ann Steward, cabinet member for economic development, said: 'This is an important day in the racing calendar so we're delighted to get the opportunity to take our campaign to bring better broadband for Norfolk to Fakenham Races as I am sure race-goers, local people and businesses in this part of the county are just as frustrated and fed up with the lack of broadband or unreasonable broadband speeds, as the rest of Norfolk.

'Horse racing is an important industry in Norfolk, not only in terms of tourism and attracting visitors, but also because of the valuable contribution it makes to the local economy so it is imperative that we have the support of the racecourse, horse racing enthusiasts and local residents and businesses.

'We must do all we can to try to help this well established and much-loved industry thrive here, and improving broadband access and speed will go some way to doing just that.'

Elsewhere, Janet Murphy, county councillor for Gayton and Nar Valley, will join Marham parish councillors in the west Norfolk village on Thursday to drum up door-to-door support for the campaign.

Norfolk residents and businesses can sign up at www.norfolk.gov.uk/sayyesnorfolk, or call 0344 800 8023.

chris.hill@archant.co.uk

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