East Britain becomes UK's most connected region

An innovative campaign to bring broadband into the homes and workplaces of everyone in the East of England has reached a landmark milestone this week.

The last of the region’s 582 BT telephone exchanges have been upgraded to provide broadband services, which means 99.7% of residents now have access to the hi-speed IT technology.

Through its Demand Broadband campaign, the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has supported work to ensure the region’s last 10 rural telephone exchanges were enabled.

The successful roll out of broadband services to communities across the East of England has in part been driven by EEDA’s award-winning Demand Broadband campaign. When it was launched in 2002 just 53% of the region’s residents had access to broadband services.

The campaign drove 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.

EEDA’s Connecting Communities Competition, run in conjunction with the campaign, helped to bring communities together to find their own broadband providers, when others were not interested in providing the service.

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