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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 February, 2003, 13:21 GMT
Broadband demand areas unveiled
Man on laptop
Providers are invited to offer services to the 'high demand' areas

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has identified its first "clusters of demand" for high-speed internet and invited broadband suppliers to step forward.

The highest number of registrations on the agency's website came from Diss in Norfolk and Felaw Maltings, a business start-up centre in Ipswich, Suffolk.

Diss, a market town, would mix business and residential broadband users, and Felaw Maltings houses 60 businesses in one building.

E-Commerce Minister Stephen Timms said: "The more this demand is demonstrated, the further broadband will spread, opening up access to everyone in every part of the UK."

The Demand Broadband campaign has had 8,000 online respondents across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

a handful of wires and cables
Many rural communities cannot get broadband
EEDA supplies its figures to network providers who decide whether to bid to communities to supply broadband.

Stuart Cowie, of Mason Communications, the company handling the competition, said that there is already a long list of suppliers ready to meet demand.

"We will not favour any particular supplier," he said.

"We make available information by regular communication to all broadband solutions providers, large or small, who will then have the chance to bid to provide a service to a demand hotspot."

The second part of the Demand Broadband campaign - the connecting communities competition - will encourage businesses and communities in the region to bid in a 3m competition fund for broadband service.

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