Shoppers in King’s Lynn and Watton Say Yes to Better Broadband

Shoppers in King's Lynn clamoured to Say Yes to Better Broadband when the campaign headed west for the first time this weekend.

More than 50 people registered their interest during just the first hour of a sign-up event held in the Vancouver Quarter - nearly one a minute.

'People are either coming up to us or are very happy to be stopped,' said Christine Birchall, from the county council. 'This is our first time out in the west of the county and people are very enthusiastic.'

The campaign, run by the EDP and Norfolk County Council, aims to bring superfast 30Mbps download speeds to as much of the county as possible by 2015.

Mrs Birchall, a communications officer, said there was a great deal of interest in the campaign at RAF Marham and its surrounding villages, where some households with download speeds as low as half an Mbps were desperate for help.

Among those signing up at the event yesterday (Saturday) was farmer Jean Didwell, from Marshland St James in the Fens, and her husband Philip.

'All our tax, all our forms for the business have to be submitted online - there is no choice - so the internet is absolutely vital,' she said. 'At the moment the download speed is rubbish. When our son comes home from Nottingham to see us he asks how we can live with it as it's usually instant for him.

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'You have to sit and wait to download things, it's like watching paint dry, and we're not even far from the exchange. You also have to pick your time of day. I usually try and get a lot done first thing in the morning when there are fewer people online.'

Mrs Didwell has owned a holiday home in Florida for six years and also relies on the internet to arrange bookings and even control settings in the house, such as the heating.

'We have French, American, Canadian and Danish guests and the internet is the life blood of it,' she added.

Also backing the campaign was Steve Low, a chef from Narborough, near Swaffham.

He uses the internet mainly for social networking and struggles to download films and music because of his broadband speed.

'It's supposed to be between 12 and 19Mbps in our area, but I think we really get around 2Mbps,' Mr Low said.

The roadshow is set to visit Fakenham Racecourse on March 16, when the final race of the day will be named after the campaign.

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

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