Politicians unite behind Better Broadband for Norfolk campaign

Every tier of political influence across Norfolk has united behind a campaign to bring better broadband to the county's disconnected 'not spots'.

Representatives at parliamentary, district, city and parish levels are backing Norfolk County Council's project to equip the majority of homes and businesses with superfast internet.

The Say Yes to Better Broadband campaign, run jointly by the EDP and the county council, aims to prove the massive demand which will tempt private investment to the project.

And a host of local authorities are now aiming to use their membership, staff and taxpayers to multiply out the message that thousands of individual registrations are needed to prove the case.

At North Norfolk District Council, the campaign is being promoted in the reception of the authority's Cromer office and via its website.

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Council leader Helen Eales said: 'Broadband is vital for us up here, so as a district council we really wanted to join with all our partners in trying to get as much fast broadband as we can.

'I am also sending a letter to all members and staff, explaining the benefits of the project and asking them to speak to their parish councils, friends and neighbours and to keep the ball rolling right down to the heart of our communities. The more we all join in together to sign up, the more we can make a difference.'

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Breckland Council leader William Nunn said: 'Securing the best possible broadband provision for Norfolk is vital to the future prosperity of our county and will help our businesses compete in the world market. There are many areas in Breckland where coverage is either very slow or non-existent so we have been doing all we can to support this important initiative. We have sent out emails, put up posters and used the council intranet to encourage both staff and elected members to sign up and register their interest, and to get their friends and family to do so too.'

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is promoting the campaign internally on its intranet and externally via its website, Facebook and Twitter.

Barry Stone, cabinet member for transformation, said: 'Great Yarmouth Borough Council fully supports the campaign and I urge all our residents to sign up. Faster broadband will benefit local people and aid our economic growth.'

South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller said: 'I represent all the rural Norfolk districts on the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and we are absolutely committed to ensuring Norfolk is at the leading edge of encouraging and developing new business and enterprise. Your campaign for faster broadband is key to delivering that not just for business but for our community, and we support your campaign.'

A Norwich City Council spokesman said: 'While the BDUK funding secured is only for improving 'not spots' or rural areas, this does not dampen Norwich City Council's enthusiasm for the campaign. We also think, that while the city already has the best broadband service in the region, further investment is needed so that residents and businesses can benefit.'

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss used her constituency surgery in Swaffham to encourage sign-ups, and said she had succeeded in getting the Swaffham Business Forum on board.

'I am also writing to all the parish councils in the constituency urging them to get local people and businesses to sign up,' she said. 'I get a lot of complaints from constituents about being in 'not spots' or not getting fast enough broadband. This is their time to do something about it.'

Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for economic development Ann Steward has written to each of the 84 members of the authority asking them to contact their parishes and spread the word throughout those communities.

Wells councillor Marie Strong said that members from Barsham Parish Council in her division were already going door-to-door, urging people to sign up.

nNorfolk residents and businesses can sign up online at www.norfolk.gov.uk/sayyesnorfolk, or by calling 0344 800 8023. The registration takes just two minutes to complete, and does not commit anyone to buy or use any of the services provided.

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