First milestone for ‘Say Yes to Better Broadband in Norfolk’ campaign
The Say Yes campaign has passed its first significant milestone after 5,000 people registered their interest in better broadband for Norfolk.
The EDP has teamed up with Norfolk County Council in a bid to prove the commercial demand for the authority's project to provide superfast 30Mbps (megabits per second) internet to as many households and businesses as possible.
The running total on the online sign-up counter includes more than 300 printed forms completed by EDP readers, which have now been delivered to County Hall.
Project leaders welcomed the figure as a promising start, but said many thousands more sign-ups would be needed to generate the critical mass of demand which will tempt the best possible deal from private telecoms industry investors.
Karen O'Kane, programme director for the Better Broadband for Norfolk team, said: 'I am delighted. That is an awful lot of people in a week, but there is a long way to go.
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'We need as many people as possible if we want to get to a number that has that 'wow' factor for the private sector. We want a figure that will make them inhale sharply when they see it.
'What I would say is that there are about 140,000 properties in Norfolk which currently don't get superfast broadband and there are a good 50,000 who don't get 2Mbps, or anything at all. Proportionally, it proves we need everyone to keep signing up.
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'The more people who are prepared to use their voice, the more we can do for all those people.'
Miss O'Kane reiterated the message that it was important for people to register, even if they were fortunate enough to have a good broadband connection.
'This is for the whole of Norfolk,' she said. 'You might have decent broadband currently, but you might have family living in other parts of the county who do not.
'The other thing to consider is that you might be getting reasonable speeds, say 5-10Mbps, but as online services grow and expand you may find yourself in a year or two wishing you had signed up – because by then you might need 30Mbps.'
Miss O'Kane said she expected a surge in registration figures as the message filtered through from county councillors to the monthly meetings of parish councils and then on to individuals.
The Better Broadband for Norfolk project aims to bring superfast 30Mbps download speeds to as much of the county as possible and a minimum of 2Mbps for everyone by 2015. Although �30m of public funding has been made available, the Say Yes campaign aims to prove the commercial demand which will attract private investment to the scheme.
?Norfolk residents and businesses can sign up online at www.norfolk.gov.uk/sayyesnorfolk, or by calling 0344 800 8023. Printed forms are also available in all Norfolk County Council libraries. The registration process only collects basic details, takes just two minutes to complete, and does not commit anyone to buy or use any of the services provided.