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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 07:07 GMT
Fresh push for rural broadband
Woman using the internet
Some rural users still connect at 28.8k per second
Groups promoting regional economic growth have stepped up their efforts to bring broadband internet access to rural areas.

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) wants to speed up the process with an online petition and trials in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Details of the Demand Broadband petition are reaching village newsletters and parish bulletin boards as the EEDA asks local councils to spread the word.

EEDA spokeswoman Vivian Oxley said: "50% of people can't get broadband - in rural areas something like 90% can't.

"The main frustrations for people have been the massive advertising campaigns, and yet people in rural areas can't get it."

Political pull

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has launched a Broadband Rural Britain campaign, and 100 members of parliament have signed a Commons early day motion promoting their efforts.

A satellite dish
Two-way satellite might be a rural option
Paul Long, director of the CLA eastern region, said: "This situation must be addressed if the government is serious about providing real opportunities for people operating in the rural economy."

The CLA has secured an agreement which will enable it to carry out tests on BT's two-way broadband satellite system.

The EEDA is overseeing BT trials in Burnham Market in Norfolk and Shottisham in Suffolk, and funding a wireless internet project in Tendring in rural Essex.

The agency is also looking into other options, including a BT trial service called DSLAM, which could serve up to two users at rural exchanges more cheaply than broadband.

The EEDA will meet with potential broadband suppliers at the end of February.



Broadband goes electric
13 Feb 03 |  Technology
What is broadband for?
29 Nov 02 |  Technology
Rural residents demand broadband
22 Aug 02 |  Technology

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