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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
99.7% access to broadband in East
A campaign to bring broadband into the homes and workplaces of everyone in the East of England reached a milestone this week.

The last of the region's 582 BT telephone exchanges have been upgraded to provide broadband services.

This means 99.7% of residents now have access to the high speed IT technology.

Through its Demand Broadband campaign, the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), ensured the last 10 rural telephone exchanges were connected.

When the campaign was launched in 2002 just 53% of the region's residents had access to broadband services.

'Better quality service'

The campaign encouraged more than 17,000 people to register on the Demand Broadband website, which helped persuade BT and other telecoms providers that there was a strong market for broadband in the region's market towns and rural areas.

John Snyder, EEDA board member, said: "The fact that 99.7% of the region can now access broadband is a fantastic achievement.

"However we are continuing to work with our partners to ensure those who still haven't got access, will get it in the near future."

Broadband was brought to the last two communities in the region - Willingale, near Chelmsford and Lucy Lane, Colchester - this summer.

Sally Brazier, who runs her business CEOSTRA from Willingale, said the arrival of broadband would make a big difference to her life and to her business.

"I work with designers a lot and they often can't send me large business files because they are too large to download," she said.

"Doing research on the web is also an extremely long and tedious process. Having broadband will mean I can support a better quality service for my clients whilst saving myself time and money."


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