Fast-broadband campaign blow

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SCARBOROUGH missed out on the chance of getting its BT telephone exchange upgraded to a super-fast broadband capability because only two per cent of those who were eligible bothered to register their interest.

Figures released by the telecoms giant show that out of a possible 24,000 of those who qualified just 505 votes were registered – or 2.15 per cent – before the end-of-year deadline for the Race to Infinity campaign.

And in a separate survey carried out by the Evening News only 25 readers took the trouble to fill out a form to outline their broadband issues.

Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill said that it was important for people to register an interest otherwise the area would be left behind.

He said: “It’s a sad fact of life that it’s the squeaking wheel that gets oiled – so the more noise we can make on the importance of broadband in this part of the world the more we can put pressure on BT to invest.”

Mr Goodwill said he was due to attend a broadband conference in the next few days and BT, as well as companies such as NYNET, would be present.

Recently it was announced that North Yorkshire was one of only four areas to be included in a pilot project to provide super-fast broadband and Mr Goodwill said he would pass on the completed Evening News forms to Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, who has a responsibility for broadband.

Currently BT has no plans to run a stage two of the Race to Infinity campaign and a total of 10 areas were announced which had generated enough interest for an upgrade – the Yorkshire village of Burley-in-Wharfedale was the closest to Scarborough.

John Anderson, BT’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The Race to Infinity received a tremendous response from the local people in all these communities. We decided to extend the list of winners to the top 10 because of the exceptional passion and commitment shown by local campaigners and residents.

“We are very grateful to everybody in the UK who helped show the level of demand for super-fast broadband in their communities by registering with the Race to Infinity. No vote was wasted. The race has provided invaluable information as we roll-out the technology across the country.”