Frustrated internet users in Great Yarmouth sign up to broadband campaign
Frustrated internet users were given the chance to register their interest in better broadband at a sign-up event in Great Yarmouth at the weekend.
The Say Yes to Better Broadband campaign, run jointly by the EDP and Norfolk County Council, aims to prove the commercial demand for a superfast upgrade.
More than 7,800 people have already signed up, with the project aiming to bring superfast 30Mbps download speeds to as much of the county as possible and a useable minimum of 2Mbps for everyone by 2015.
More people registered their interest at the Market Gates Shopping Centre on Saturday where council staff were on hand to answer any questions.
Although �30m of public funding has been made available, the Say Yes campaign, aims to show demand for services, which it is hoped will attract private investment to the scheme.
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Among those signing up at the event was Des Speed, 56, from Gorleston. He said: 'This is important. Businesses need it, homes need it – we all need the internet. We need people to be able to learn to use the internet and we need a drive to get everyone online.'
Mary Symonds, 70, lives at Caister and described her broadband speed as 'very slow'.
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'I find it very frustrating. I would use the computer more if it would move. You sit there for all this time.' she said.
Her husband Gordon, 71, added: 'It is important for everyone and is part of modern day living. If you have not got it you can be denied certain aspects of living from looking for holidays online to browsing. There are numerous reasons why it should be faster. It gives somebody an unfair disadvantage if they are in an area where there are slow speeds.'
Jonathan Chapman, 47, runs Toplift, a haulage firm based in Great Yarmouth, with his wife Jennifer but said slow internet speeds at their home in Martham impacted on their business.
'We do use the internet for business but we have slow speeds,' he said.
'When people ring up for quotes and we are trying to look for a map or a telephone number online it takes ages. It is very frustrating. We would definitely like to see faster broadband and we might consider expanding if the internet was better.'
Karen O'Kane, programme director for Better Broadband for Norfolk, said better broadband is badly needed.
'If you have a business you need it because it gives you reach to all sorts of customers you would not normally have access to,' she said.
'If you are in school or further education so much of the curriculum now is delivered online and there are so many resources online to support learning. We have been able to provide reasonable broadband for schools in Norfolk but at the moment kids in rural areas are going home and are without broadband and they not only struggle with learning but also accessing social media.
'A lot of older people have children and grandchildren in other parts of the world and access to things like Skype makes a world of difference to these people because they are able to stay in touch and can speak to them and see them.'
Norfolk households and businesses can register their interest online at www.norfolk.gov.uk/sayyesnorfolk or by calling 0344 800 8023. There is no obligation to take up the service when available.