The race is on for faster broadband

Rural communities in the region are calling for residents and businesses to take part in a one-off competition with BT which could win them a super-fast broadband service.

The telecommunications giant has launched a Race to Infinity competition to see which areas have the greatest local demand for the new BT Infinity fibre optic broadband.

The race – which runs until December 31 at – will map demand for fibre broadband across the UK, helping BT identify 'hot spots' where demand is high.

BT will then upgrade the five exchanges with the highest demand by early 2012 at the latest.

The winners will be judged on the percentage of dwellings or businesses served after 1,000 votes, with one per premises, are received.

Liz Stallion, clerk to Yaxham parish council, said super-fast broadband would make a huge difference to communities like hers.

'We have quite a few business people in the village who work from home so it will really help them. From a personal point of view as a parish clerk there are all these documents the government expects us to read and they take ages to download; it is so frustrating. There are also a lot of youngsters who do homework on the computer.'

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She said it was also unfair that it cost extra to have broadband but many were getting speeds much slower than the 2Mbps that the government said everyone should have.

BT is also pledging to engage with any community not winning the competition where at least 75pc of homes and businesses have voted for super-fast broadband.

Peter McCarthy-Ward, BT's east of England regional director, said: 'This data will help determine where fibre broadband will be deployed over the next few years so it's vital for the county that residents take the time to complete this survey.'

The website will show the number and percentage of votes for each exchange. The site will display the top five exchanges as the number of votes hits 1,000.

To vote for your telephone exchange you need to enter your telephone number and postcode when prompted on the website.