Last chance to join Norfolk’s Say Yes to Better Broadband campaign
If you want to end Norfolk's appalling broadband frustrations once and for all – this could be your last chance to prove it.
That was the 11th-hour plea from campaigners ahead of the final weekend of a registration drive to demonstrate the commercial demand for a superfast 30Mbps (megabits per second) upgrade across the county.
Since its launch in January, the Say Yes to Better Broadband campaign has won universal support, with more than 13,000 people registering their support so far.
But every single additional sign-up this weekend will strengthen Norfolk's case when the search begins in April to attract a private telecoms partner to match the �30m of public funding already secured.
Karen O'Kane, programme director for the Better Broadband project, said: 'My message to people now is please make time to sign up this weekend. While you're waiting for the kettle to boil, or during an ad break on TV, go on to the website and say 'yes', or fill in the form in Your Norfolk (the council's quarterly newsletter) and post it back. It really does only take two or three minutes, and your 'yes' really will help us attract the best deal and the best partner to get better broadband services provided across the county.
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'Every single yes helps to paint a picture of the demand that exists for faster internet provision in Norfolk and will put us in a much stronger position to get superfast broadband to more properties. So please don't put it off – say yes now and make a real difference to our county's future.'
Council leader Derrick Murphy has emailed all the authority's members and employees with a last-ditch 'call to arms' to boost the registration figures.
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It says: 'If you have not done so already, please do get involved and spread the word in your local community.'
Marie Strong, county councillor for the Wells division, will be collecting registrations today from visitors to a preview for the open season at the Holkham Estate in north Norfolk.
She said: 'The residents and businesses in the Wells Division have been terrific in their support of the campaign – nine of the parishes delivered the Say Yes leaflet house to house. The strength of support is not surprising since this is a very rural division which has very limited broadband, yet at the same time there are numerous small businesses struggling to keep up with modern communication. This final campaign is to help us attract the best possible private sector partner and to do this we need to show that demand exists right across the county.'
Alison Thomas, county councillor for Long Stratton, will also be encouraging registrations at the Co-op supermarket on The Street in Long Stratton from 9.30 to midday.
Although online registrations will still be possible from next week onwards, sign-ups should be made this weekend to be certain of inclusion in the 'demand stimulation' figures used in the tender process.
The commercial contract for the project is due to be awarded this summer, with installation work expected to begin early in 2013.